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Florida Wild Life and Endangered Species

The Florida Manatee

or sea cow, a subspecies
of the West Indian manatee, is a large, herbivorous, aquatic mammal that can be found in the shallow coastal waters, rivers, and springs of Florida and adjoining states. These gentle creatures are endangered throughout their range. High annual mortality, primarily associated with human activity, as well as a low reproductive rate and loss of habitat continue to keep the number of manatees low and threaten the species' future.

In response to an increased awareness of the plight of the manatee, governmental agencies, universities,
private conservation groups, and concerned corporations have joined together to promote research and identify the actions needed to encourage the recovery of manatee populations. This work has increased our knowledge of this species as well as raised many questions that remain unanswered.

Sea Turtles

Florida is an important place for the endangered and threatened sea turtles of the world. Sea turtles nest on our beaches, forage for food in our estuaries, and all too often wash-up dead on our shoreline.

Five species of sea turtles are found in Florida's waters and nest on Florida's beaches. All sea turtles found in Florida are protected under state statutes. Illegal harvesting, habitat encroachment and pollution are only some of the things sea turtles must fight against to stay alive.

The Northern Right Whale,

Eubalaena glacialis, is the most endangered of the world's large whales. Efforts have been heightened to prevent human-caused mortality in this species, where even one death per year has a significant impact on the population estimated to number less than 350 individuals. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) designated Florida and Georgia coastal waters as critical habitat for the right whale in 1994. This region is the only known calving ground of the northern right whale. Efforts to protect right whales in the Florida/Georgia critical habitat have resulted in the formation of the Southeastern U.S. Implementation Team for the Recovery of the Northern Right Whale, a multi-agency/citizens advisory group. The Team makes management and research recommendations and assist in implementing the Recovery Plan.  Since 1987 FMRI staff have conducted numerous aerial surveys to monitor seasonal presence of right whales, to determine the number of calves born, and to mitigate ship/whale collisions.

For specific information on Orlando's natural resources, check out undiscovered Orlando.

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