Posted on December 4, 2012 by Seth
Just in case you were worried that a python outbreak wasn’t enough, there’s another top predator in southern Florida. This past fall there have been sightings of Nile crocodiles south of Miami. This presents a bit of a conundrum for wildlife supervisors. You see the Nile crocodile is on international threatened lists, and is disappearing in its native habitat. Because Florida, however, is not its native habitat, and because the state already has to manage with non-native snakes eliminating the mammal population, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has authorized a state shoot-to-kill order. Though there are native crocodiles in Florida, the Nile crocodile is known to be fiercer and more deadly, and is one of the few animals left on the planet that still hunts humans.
While Nile crocodiles haven’t reached the infestation levels of the python, they are potentially more problematic in smaller numbers. FWC officers suspect that the crocodiles may have originated from an illegal captive breeding facility, but it is still unknown exactly from where they are coming, or how many there are.
Again we are faced with the same unresolved questions on how to handle non-native species that can drastically alter a habitat. Do we preserve a threatened species, one of the greatest and most resilient in history, or do we hunt down the crocodiles before they make other animals endangered or extinct? Or do we simply pit the pythons and crocs against each other in a winner-take-all showdown on prime time? Either way, it’s hardly an enviable decision for the FWC.
Filed under: climate change, endangered species, environmental ethics, environmental law, exotic animals | Tagged: animal ethics, animals, climate change, endangered species, environmental advocacy, Everglades, exotic species, florida, global warming, invasive species, Miami, Nile crocodile, non-native species, pythons | 2 Comments »
Posted on January 4, 2012 by David
Congress has been consistently asked to ban the importation of pythons into the United States, which Congress has failed to do. This is an error on Congress part; as recently as October 17, 2011 a 16 ft. long Burmese python was discovered in Florida with a 76-lb. adult female deer inside. This is an example of the long drawn out debate regarding native versus exotic (invasive) species. Unfortunately this illustration is not rare or unheard of; in 2005, a python burst in the Everglades after attempting to swallow a live 6-ft. alligator. It was not the fist documented event, and unfortunately not the last. Both Flora and fauna exotic species can be considered pests.
Attributing the titles of native, non-native or invasive species must be questioned before asserted. These titles have implications for mankind as well. Additionally, a species being non-indigenous is not necessarily indicative of environmental harm. Some species of plants that are not native to the ecosystem where they are found have provided great environmental benefits. While another significant portion are considered invasive, especially if they: have rapid growth; asexual reproduction; can live off a variety of sustenance sources; have a tolerance of wide range of environmental conditions; or have an association with humans. Continue reading
Filed under: animal ethics, animal law | Tagged: animal law, Burmese Python, environmental law, exotic species, florida, invasive species | 1 Comment »
Posted on June 27, 2010 by David
The Asian Carp continues its long march to the Great Lakes. An invasive species that can reach 4 feet long and 100 lbs and consume up to 40% of its bodyweight daily, the carp will wreak havoc on the lakes’ ecosystem if and when it reaches there. Currently, it’s in both the Mississippi and Illinois rivers and travelling northward.
This situation is generating both panic and inertia. On the one hand are those who advocate severing all access points between the Mississippi basin and the lakes — arguing that the disastrous consequences of the carp’s reaching the lakes merit the drastic measures. On the other are those who say that doing so would destroy jobs without guaranteeing that the carp will be prevented from reaching the lake. It bears noting that the most recent carp find was only 6 miles from Lake Michigan. This means that the fish may well have already reached the lake and that the parties could be arguing about whether to lock the door behind the intruder. Continue reading
Filed under: animal law, environmental law, marine animals | Tagged: animal law, asian carp, environmental advocacy, environmental ethics, environmental law, exotic species, fishing, Great Lakes, Illinois River, invasive species, Lake Michigan, lake trout, lamprey eel, Mississippi Basin, Mississippi River, Pere Marquette River, sport fishing, zebra mussel | 3 Comments »
Posted on November 28, 2009 by David
Last month, a red-bellied piranha was caught by a 15-year-old boy. The next day, fish and wildlife officials caught two more in the same lake. No, this didn’t take place in the Amazon; it happened in West Palm Beach, Florida, The Piranha is not a Florida native, but, like the New York Snowbirds, these animals like the heat! From south of Florida’s borders, these non-native animals have invaded Florida due primarily to negligent pet owners. When pets becomes too large, people simply release them into the wild without thinking of any consequences. The pets survive and flourish in Florida because the conditions are so similar to that of their natural ecosystem.
Although Florida has laws about importing non-native species, pet stores are still able to obtain licenses to sell exotic animals cheaply, which in turn attracts people to buy these exotic pets without researching the specifics of their care. Some released pets, such as the green iguana, are able to move on land, migrating to different parts of Florida where Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission finds them almost impossible to control. However, these piranhas were confined to one lake in West Palm Beach. They could not infest other areas of Florida, as land animals can. Why, then, was the choice made by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FFWCC) to poison the entire lake to remove this one species? Continue reading
Filed under: animal ethics, animal law, exotic animals | Tagged: animal ethics, animal law, animal welfare, exotic species, Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, florida, FWCC, piranha, West Palm Beach | 1 Comment »