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florida fish and wildlife conservation commission

Florida wildlife officials Wednesday backed a 10-year plan to manage the state’s growing black bear population, with the plan maintaining hunting as an option.

Florida wildlife officials moved quickly Wednesday to try to close a “loophole” that allowed a citizen of Saudi Arabia to legally buy a handgun and ammunition used to kill three people Friday at Naval Air Station Pensacola.

A Leon County circuit judge has rejected a request for a preliminary injunction against a state rule that largely bans anacondas in Florida.

Techniques to manage Florida’s black bear population over the next decade, including the possibility of regulated hunting, will be among the items the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission considers during a meeting next month.

NOTE: Sunday's event has been canceled due to the storm in the Gulf of Mexico.

Young female green iguana
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

By Erin O'Brien

Green iguanas, an invasive species, have been making increased appearances in the Tampa Bay area. Now, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is asking people to help them humanely decrease the number of the creatures. 

A pair of black skimmers walking along the beach at Lido Key in Sarasota County.
Cathy Carter / WUSF Public Media

By Jeffrey Smith

Wildlife groups are warning beachgoers of a threatened species, the black skimmer, showing up at beaches around the Tampa Bay area.

Reptile owners and vendors affected by an addition to Florida’s prohibited species list are filing a petition to challenge the decision.

Hatching loggerhead sea turtle
Longboat Key Turtle Watch

Loggerhead sea turtles spend most of their lives in the open ocean or shallow coastal waters, but soon thousands of female sea turtles will come ashore to begin their annual rite of spring.

May 1 marks the beginning of sea turtle nesting season on Florida's Gulf Coast.

The invasive tegu lizards are known to eat the eggs of some of Florida's native wildlife. Recently scientists discovered gopher tortoises, a Threatened species, in some tegu stomachs.
Mike Avery / USDA Wildlife Services

Florida is home to more than 500 invasive species. Not all of these plants and animals are big and scary like pythons, but they can still harm the state’s native wildlife, and a lot of time and money is spent fighting them.

This week Florida Matters speaks with scientists on the front lines of this battle about how we’re doing.


FWC Says Virus Might Be Killing Turtles In St. Johns Watershed

Mar 29, 2019

The mysterious die-off of freshwater turtles throughout the massive St. Johns River watershed continues despite an ongoing year-long investigation by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and its partners to determine the cause and prevent damage to the ecosystem with the loss of the species.

Four Florida Species No Longer Listed As Imperiled

Jan 15, 2019

Florida wildlife authorities say four species no longer will be listed as imperiled.

Jessica Meszaros / WUSF Public Media

State wildlife officials reported this past Friday that elevated levels of the organism Karenia brevis are persisting along Florida's gulf coast, which is creating toxic red tide algae blooms from Pinellas County down to Collier County.

Prescribed burns are a part of precautions taken throughout Florida to prevent massive forest fires by clearing flammable debris from the ground. They are meant to keep people safe, but one such burn was quite the opposite.

In the Panhandle town of Eastpoint, one of these burns grew out of control on June 24 and burnt down 36 homes. 

Scott Calls For Preparations As Storm Looms

May 23, 2018

Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday directed the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to put high-water vehicles in position to respond as the National Hurricane Season monitored a large area of showers that extended from the northwestern Caribbean across Cuba and into the Florida peninsula.

It’s Nesting season for Florida’s waterbirds. And, Florida wildlife officials say it’s important the public keeps its distance, while on the beach or boating on the state’s waterways.

There will be no harvesting of Goliath Grouper in Florida, for now.

As law enforcement agencies across Florida consider using body cameras, the state’s wildlife officers are following suit.

Edie J. Banner / USF Sarasota-Manatee

Edie J. Banner is an organic chemistry instructor at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee.

While most of the school’s teaching laboratories are at Mote Marine, there’s one particular lab right outside the university’s front door.

Authorities have recovered the body of a kayaker who had been missing in Tampa Bay.

State wildlife officials say human-bear interactions are on the rise, and they’re trying to educate Floridians on ways to defuse those situations. 

Scott Sends More State Resources To Help Texas

Aug 28, 2017
FWC photo by Avery Bristol

Gov. Rick Scott announced Monday he is directing more resources to Texas following Hurricane Harvey.

Scott is deploying additional Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers and resources to Houston in response to additional requests from Texas for continued emergency assistance following Hurricane Harvey.

Wikimedia Commons

Officials say a 61-year-old Florida man has died in a boating accident.

USF Communications and Marketing

Right now, if a researcher wants to confirm there’s a red tide outbreak – you know, that algae bloom known as Karenia brevis that turns water red or brown, kills marine life and makes a horrible stench – they have to take a water sample, bring it back to the lab, put it on a microscope, and literally count the number of algae cells.

Florida wildlife officials are highlighting sandhill cranes as well as better ways for the public to coexist with the threatened bird species.

Florida is seeing a record high number of reported alligator bites this summer. With 2016 only seeing 7 alligator bites, 2017 has already surpassed that number with sixteen total so far this year. With five months left in the year, The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) worries the warmer weather is pushing alligators into inhabited parts of Florida.

Should Florida allow harvesting of goliath grouper?

That is the question being discussed at 15 public workshops around the state.

The mammoth fish can grow to the size of a grizzly bear. What’s not been big about goliath grouper are their numbers: Fisheries dwindled due to overfishing in the 80s. In 1990, harvest of goliath grouper was prohibited in Florida state waters and Gulf and South Atlantic federal waters.

But, a recent federal stock assessment showed goliath groupers numbers on the rise South Florida waters.

Florida wildlife officials say lionfish harvesters are crucial to getting rid of the invasive species. But, lionfish removal divers are urged to safely remove the fish without causing any natural habitat damage.

Wikimedia Commons

There's an upswing in monkey business in and around a state park in Florida, where bands of non-native rhesus macaques live along a river that's popular with kayakers and tourists.

Officials have closed two walking areas at Silver Springs State Park because of unwanted monkey interactions with park guests. An observation deck and a boardwalk are off-limits because the primates have essentially taken over.

Advocates are urging Florida wildlife officials to back federal legislation banning the sale of shark fins.  But some think prohibition could be counterproductive.

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