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EVERGLADES: THREATENED AND ENDANGERED SPECIES

Everglades Snail Kite
courtesy National Park Service
Everglades Snail Kite


Threatened and Endangered Species include:
Threatened wildlife includes species, subspecies, or isolated populations that are likely to become endangered in the near future unless steps are taken to protect and manage the species and/or its habitat for its survival. A species, subspecies, or isolated population is considered endangered that is, or soon may be, in immediate danger of extinction unless the species or its habitat is fully protected. Each species must be listed on the Federal list of endangered and threatened species before it can receive protection under the Endangered Species Act. The ESA was enacted in 1973 to conserve and set up recovery plans for listed species and associated habitats.


Tree Cactus
courtesy U.S. Geological Survey
Tree Cactus

Plants

Threatened and endangered plantlife of the hardwood hammocks and rocky pinelands include the brittle thatch palm (Thrinax morrissii), buccaneer palm (Pseudophoenix sargentii), Florida thatch palm (Thrinax parvitolia), Krug's holly (Ilex krugiana), lignum-vitae (Guaiacum sanctum), manchineel (Hippomane mancinella), silver thatch palm (Coccothrinax argentata), and tree cactus (Cereus robinii).


American Alligator
courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
American Alligator

American alligator and American crocodile

The American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) is also found in the freshwater marshes of the Everglades. It was first listed as endangered in 1966 in accordance with the Endangered Species Act. However, populations quickly recovered resulting in delisting as an endangered species except for purposes of its similarity of appearance to the American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) where the two species share habitat.


Loggerhead Sea Turtle
©George Ryschkewitsch
Loggerhead Sea Turtle

Sea Turtles

Marine and estuarine habitats of the Everglades provide habitat for threatened and endangered species. The Florida population of green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) has been considered endangered since 1978. The declining population has been victim to commercial harvesting for eggs and food as well as incidental by-catch in the shrimp fishery. Hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), Atlantic Ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii), and leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) are all listed as endangered species while the loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) is considered threatened under the protection of the ESA. Recovery plans have been established for all listed sea turtle species.


Piping Plover
courtesy Paul Fusco/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Piping Plover

Birds

Many threatened and endangered species live throughout the Everglades. Threatened and endangered birds include the Everglades snail kite (Rostrhamus sociabilis), wood stork (Mycteria americana), Cape Sable seaside sparrow (Ammodramus maritimus mirabilis), red-cockaded woodpecker (Picoides borealis), piping plover (Charadrius melodus), bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), and roseate tern (Sterna dougallii).


Florida Panther
courtesy U.S. Department of Tranportation
Florida Panther

Florida Panther

Primary threats to the Florida panther's (Felis concolor coryi) survival are loss and degradation of habitat. An initial recovery plan is currently being implemented which identifies, protects, and enhances the existing range and habitats; establishes positive public opinion and support; and reintroduces panthers into areas of suitable habitat. It is estimated there are 70-100 individuals living in the hardwood hammocks of the Everglades.


Manatee
courtesy Everglades National Park Photo
Manatee

Manatee

Federally listed as endangered, the manatee (Trichechus manatus laterostris) is a large, slow-moving, plant-eating aquatic mammal. Its distribution is determined primarily by water temperature as manatees cannot survive long in water below about 63 F (17 C). In Florida, manatees often migrate into warm spring-fed rivers or near the heated discharges of power plants during winter months. As offshore waters warm in late spring and summer, manatees move out into shallow fresh, brackish, and seawater habitats.


For more information on the numerous threatened and endangered species in Florida, visit the
Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission's List of Florida's Endangered and Threatened Species and Species of Special Concern.




Habitats

Threatened and Endangered Species

Introduced Species

Threats

Conservation

Links


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