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The Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition team has trekked through scrub, swamp and forest from one end of the state to the other. They have documented their journeys in film, books and photography exhibitions with a goal demonstrating the urgent need for an unbroken spine of wilderness running the length of Florida to give wildlife a chance for survival.The third expedition kicked off April 15 and once again, WUSF News reporters are along for the adventure. This time around the explorers want to highlight an area of wilderness in Central Florida that is threatened on all sides by urban development and transportation infrastructure including Interstate 4.WUSF Public Media is a sponsor of the Florida Wildlife Corridor. Follow along on with our reporters on our website and social media accounts on Facebook and on Twitter, using the hashtag #Heartland2Headwaters.

Wildlife Corridor Expedition Crosses Underneath I-4

Members of the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition emerged from a swamp south of Interstate 4 late Thursday and crossed underneath the busy highway.

There, they spotted tracks of wild pigs and deer and looked at photos of bobcats, otters and raccoons taken by remote-control cameras set up at the crossing.

As cars zipped by overhead, expedition member Joe Guthrie said it was tough traversing the preserved stretch of land between Tampa and Orlando.

Credit Mark Schreiner / WUSF Public Media
WUSF Public Media
Tracks of a variety of animals are visible in the area where Reedy Creek passes under I-4, including possum and raccoons

"We've made 13 miles in five days, four days, sometimes you couldn't see five feet in front of you and just had this wall, just a mass of vegetation," he said.

While they've encountered tracks and evidence of a number of animals, they've seen more than their share of snakes.

"A lot of cottonmouths," Guthrie said. "Every step, you've got to be conscious of where you're putting your foot."

Reedy Creek crosses underneath I-4 in Celebration, FL. Wildlife cameras underneath the road have captured bobcats, otters & raccoons. The Florida Wildlife Corridor expedition canoed this section of the river Thursday. #KeepFLWild #Heartland2Headwaters - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

A 360 degree look at Reedy Creek as it passes under I-4.

Expedition members are doing the week-long mini-trek to bring attention to the narrow swaths of land wildlife use to migrate through Florida. They're continuing to paddle along Reedy Creek Friday, passing in the shadow of Walt Disney World.

They'll speak at an event Friday afternoon at Lake Louisa State Park in Lake County.

To see WUSF's coverage of this and past Florida Wildlife Corridor Expeditions, click here.

Credit Mark Schreiner / WUSF Public Media
WUSF Public Media
The sun peeks through the trees along Reedy Creek in Celebration.

Steve Newborn is a WUSF reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.
Mark Schreiner is the assistant news director and intern coordinator for WUSF News.
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