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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Selects New Manager for the Florida Keys Refuge Complex


July 3, 2002

Jim Rothschild, FWS, 404/679-7291, Cell-770/310-2304

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces that Phil Frank has been selected to manage the Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuge complex located in the Florida Keys. The Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuge complex consists of four refuges: National Key Deer Refuge in Big Pine Key, Key West National Wildlife Refuge, Great White Heron National Wildlife Refuge in Monroe County, and Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge in north Key Largo.

"Phil has been working to protect the Keys' fragile environment for many years, and his background and knowledge in Keys conservation and community issues makes him the perfect choice to take the helm as refuge manager," said Southeast Regional Director Sam D. Hamilton. "The community can be assured that the Service has selected the right person to manage the Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges."

Frank is a veteran of conservation work in the Florida Keys, with more than 11 years of experience. He has held positions as a wildlife biologist for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, National Key Deer Refuge, and most recently with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Division of Ecological Services on Big Pine Key. Frank also has a distinguished academic background with a B.S. in biology from Indiana University, an M.S. in zoology from the University of South Florida, and a Ph.D. in wildlife ecology and conservation from the University of Florida.

Being selected as the Refuge Manager for the Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges is a great honor," said Frank. "I look forward to working with the people of the Florida Keys to protect and manage the unique ecological attributes of Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges and the National Wildlife Refuge System for future generations."

Along with his wife Rowena and daughter Nichole, Frank spends as much time as possible enjoying the spectacular beauty of the Florida Keys backcountry and the varied culture of the lower Florida Keys. When he is not stalking bonefish on the flats, he can be found at the beach with Rowena and Nichole, or watching a sunset down in Key West.

All four of the refuges are located in the lower Florida Keys. Established in 1957, the 8,542-acre National Key Deer Refuge is home to about 800 Key deer. It hosts more than 90,000 visitors annually. The Great White Heron and Key West Refuges are mostly water habitat and are home to over 250 different bird species. They both have a few sandy beaches and dunes that serve as critical nesting habitat for endangered sea turtles. The 6,606-acre Crocodile Lake refuge provides critical habitat for two endangered species, the Key Largo woodrat and the Key Largo cotton mouse. During April through July, it hosts Florida's only federally-listed endangered insect, the Schaus' swallowtail butterfly.

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