Protecting Florida’s Diversity
Florida's local critters are being threatened by non-native species, otherwise known as invasive species. These invasive species are not originally from around these parts. Although not all invasive species harm our local critters, they can have lasting effects on our ecosystem. However, you can help protect our diversity by following these tips.
1. Keep an Eye out for Me!
Hi, I am a Burmese Python. I'm originally from South Asia, and I can grow up to 20 feet in length. I tend to blend in very well with my surroundings. If you do spot roaming around, please call the Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission's Exotic Species Hotline at 1-888-483-4681. They will come get me so I don't eat things I'm not supposed to.
Hi, I am a Lionfish. You will see me only if you venture into the deep blue ocean. If you do spot me, use caution because I have venomous spines. I use to be found only in the waters surrounding Florida and the Indo-Pacific Seas, but now I'm appearing across the Atlantic coast. I can't help but eat things I'm not supposed to. This leads to me out-competing the local species. However, I taste yummy and, if prepared correctly, I can be a delicacy.
Hi, I am a marine algae, I specifically go by Caulerpa brachypus. I ventured here from the Pacific Ocean, probably on someone's ship. I love the nutrients provided by runoff; they allow me thrive around these parts. However, the local species seem to be paying the price. I can out-compete the local marine algae and phytoplanktons, and I can be toxic to the local veggie eaters. The good news is you can stop me. If you see me, remember me, collect me, and contact the Florida Dept. of Environmental Protection (FDEP).
For a full list of how you can help please follow the link:
2. Be responsible
Pet Owners: Pets are our loving company; however, some may find themselves in a situation where they can no longer care for a pet. Although releasing them into the wild may seem like a logical route, it is not. The release of a non-native species into an new ecosystem may have adverse effects. Organizations like the Exotic Pet Amnesty Program and the Humane Society can help find your pet a new loving home.
Exotic Species Hotline: 1-888-483-4681
Pensacola Humane Society: 850-432-4250
Plant Enthusiasts: People often don't think of plants as dangerous, but they can be extremely hazardous for the environment. Local plants are often out-competed by invasive species. These local plants serve as food, shelter, and hunting grounds for many species, and without them, the wildlife can suffer dramatically. However, you can prevent it by doing the following:
1. Being aware of a plant's origins and its federal restrictions on transport.
2. Not sharing exotic plants.
3. Ensuring that water from your garden is not running off into lakes or streams that may carry seeds to other locations.
4. Completely drying or freezing plants before disposing of them in the trash. DO NOT COMPOST. Seeds are meant to endure adverse conditions including freezing and drying.
5. Educating yourself and others around you about the dangers of invasive plants.
3. Speak up
Plants and animals need your help.They don't have a voice, they have you. It is up to individuals like ourselves to protect our local ecosystem.
All data and facts pulled from: