Endangered and Threatened Species

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The Federal Endangered Species Act of 1973 describes two categories of declining species of plants and animals that need the protection: endangered species and threatened species. An endangered species is any species that is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range. A threatened species is any species that is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range.

  • Snail Kite (endangered)

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    In North America, the snail kite is now only found in central and southern Florida, although its range formerly included north Florida, including the panhandle. As of 2011, there were approximately 925 snail kites recorded within Florida. Snail kite populations of the Everglades are locally endangered due largely to a loss of habitat and prey base.

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  • Wood Stork (threatened)

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    The southeast United States breeding population of the wood stork declined from an estimated 20,000 pairs in the 1930's to a low of approximately 5,000 pairs in the late 1970s.

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  • American Alligator (threatened due to appearance)

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    American alligator populations reached all-time lows in the 1950s, primarily due to market-hunting and habitat loss. However, in 1987, the alligator was pronounced fully recovered, making it one of the first endangered species success stories.

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  • Florida Sandhill Crane (threatened--state of Florida)

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    Florida sandhill crane (Grus canadensis pratensis) populations number between 4,000 to 5,000. They are non-migratory and practice year round breeding in Florida. Florida sandhill cranes are smaller in size than the 25,000 greater sandhill cranes that migrate to Florida every winter; both sub-species can be identified by the red skin on the top of their heads. Cranes are omnivorous and can live up to 20 years. They forage for roots, seeds, crops plants, small mammals, insects, fruits, fish and birds.

    Cranes-Sandhill Crane. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, 2015. Web. 8 June 2015. Retrieved from http://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/profiles/birds/cranes/sandhill-crane/