Walking with the Alligators

Walking with the Alligators
A Florida Alligator

June 6, 2015

Mixed Blessings

A magnificent Florida Panther
Picture credit: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

On our news this morning were at first glance what appeared to be three happy/good stories.
After so many wildlife tragedies in the news lately, these were absolutely welcomed and needed to be shared.
First the numbers for our critically endangered Florida Panther have reported to have rebounded and were cause for at least temporary joy, right?
But wait, Nick Wiley, FWC executive Director, one for whom my respect has greatly diminished after his failed promise three years ago, that Black Bears would never be hunted, may be at it again.
Just as three years ago when the Florida Black Bear was removed from the state’s protection and had its Threatened/Endangered status removed, will the Florida Panther now become the next animal/victim to be put on the happy hunters wish list, if this does happen?
In the related story below, when it says Florida Panther, please mentally insert the words Black Bear and you will see what I fear will become deja vu.
I am sure that Nick and FWC are under tremendous pressure from hunters, gun clubs, the NRA, ranchers and residents in the upscale area where the Panther currently has its highest numbers, to do something, but to take them off of the Endangered Species list when they are still so very small in numbers and considering how many die each and every year from car strikes, outright murders, and other ugly human encounters, would be disastrous for this much beloved State of Florida mammal.
Your move Nick, what will you decide that the fate of our Panther shall be?
Next up, a very rare occurrence, a Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle was recently spotted on a local Florida Beach nesting and laying her eggs at Cape Canaveral.
The announcement of this event is causing giddy delirium and great joy here, considering the many obstacles that all nesting sea turtles must always overcome just to do so.
As with so many others in the depleted animal kingdom, Human interference and greed are the primary source for this.
The final good news story was about a young girl from California who has been given a new artificial arm by those brilliant minds  at our own UCF.
She,  like Winter,  now has  a brand new way to shine with the generous gift of life from the “3-D Arm Team" at UCF.
It was all a carefully orchestrated, well-directed sweet surprise, by both the school and the Clearwater Aquarium.
So, all in all, this turned out to be a day of gifts that were indeed a mixed blessing.

Places to learn more:
State suggests review of Florida panther status
Florida Panthers died at a record rate in 2014
Rarest sea turtle nests found at CCAFS
Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle  (Lepidochelys kempii)
Kemp’s ridley sea turtle recovery plan
Girl, 10, gets surprise 3-D arm delivery from UCF students
Calif. Girl Born With No Right Hand Gets Surprise Prosthetic