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Entries in wildlife (6)


Going Fishing Isn't Always About Catching Fish


Fund-Raiser for Florida Youth and Wildlife

Dust off those cowboy boots and shine up those big silver belt buckles! It’s time for Florida’s 3rd Annual BlueGreen Event at “Alligator Ron” Bergeron’s Green Glades Cowboy Ranch in Weston.

This once-a-year, fun-filled, boot-stompin’, heel-kickin’, fund-raisin’ gala on November 15 is fast becoming the place for the movers and shakers of the fish and wildlife conservation world to meet, greet and raise money for the future of Florida’s kids and wildlife!

This is the night to open your wallets and put your money where your heart is: In the future and well-being of our youth, wildlife and all they share in the great outdoors. BlueGreen will feature live entertainment, a live auction, raffles, an authentic Florida Cracker cowboy cook out, and an unrivaled opportunity to mingle with major fish and wildlife conservationists, supporters and experts from around the state.

“BlueGreen promises to be a rip-roaring event, but its purpose is to raise awareness and money to ‘Create the Next Generation that Cares’,” said Rodney Barreto, the newly appointed chairman of the Wildlife Foundation of Florida (WFF). “Believe me, if you give a hoot about our kids and our wildlife, this is where you want to be to open your hearts and wallets.”

Research has shown that today’s kids spend less time in the outdoors than any previous generation.

“The reasons are many, but the point is that these kids are losing touch with nature and we’ve got to get them outside and into the natural world again,” Barreto said. “We need programs to reconnect kids to their outdoor heritage, and we need funding to do it. That’s why we started the BlueGreen event three years ago.”

With support from BlueGreen participants and sponsors, the WFF and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) created the Florida Youth Conservation Centers Network (FYCCN), a web of conservation-related facilities and programs located throughout the state geared toward getting kids outside. 

“The success of these programs is vital to the health and well-being of our children, to Florida’s wildlife, and to the traditions handed down from generation to generation. Without them, we face a future where Florida has no place to hunt, no place to fish, no place to hike, and no one who cares,” Barreto said.

During the gala, the WFF will also be honoring Florida’s Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam as the 2014 winner of the BlueGreen Award for Conservation Leadership in Florida.

Everyone – individuals, governmental entities, businesses – is encouraged to attend and participate. All money raised at the BlueGreen will go directly to the WFF to fund youth and wildlife-related programs and projects, in particular the renovation of the famous Everglades Youth Conservation Camp, an integral part of the FYCCN.

For more information about BlueGreen or to purchase tickets, visit To become a sponsor, email or call (850) 212-5454.

About the Wildlife Foundation of Florida

The WFF is a 501c3 nonprofit started in 1994 as the citizen support group for what is now the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). Its mission is to partner with the FWC to ensure the conservation and enhancement of Florida’s fish and wildlife resources so they survive and thrive for current and future generations of Florida residents and visitors. Remember, Florida is like no other place on Earth; working together we can keep it that way.

For more information on the WFF and how every Florida resident or guest can support the Foundation, visit To stay up-to-date with its latest news, join the WFF Facebook page at


Slobs Return to Trash Lakes

They were a little late this year, because of a cool spring. But the pigs finally have arrived.  This morning, I picked up this wad of monofilament line (above) left by one of them at a lake near my house. A litter barrel was less than 10 feet away.

Am I upset? Yes, I am. Jerks who do these types of things give anglers a bad name --- and they kill.

Think I’m exaggerating?

Awhile back, I took this photo (below) of a great blue heron that died because of entanglement in discarded fishing line.

If you haven’t already, please take Recycled Fish’s Stewardship Pledge. Following it will be good for you, anglers in general, our waters, and our wildlife.

Photo by Robert Montgomery Okay, now that I have that out of my system.

For the past couple of years, I’ve picked up trash at the access areas at a couple of lakes near my home, once the summer season starts. Mostly I pick up discarded drink containers, fast-food wrappers, and fishing line.

Now that I have Pippa, my new canine companion, she will accompany me on these cleanups. And she seems eager to help.

This morning, she picked up a used feminine hygiene product. Fortunately, I was able to grab the dangling string and pull it out of her mouth.

Ah, yes, I love the pigs.


Fishing Line Can Be Deadly for Brown Pelicans, Other Wildlife

I’ve seen first-hand that fishing line kills. That’s my photo of the blue heron hanging from a tree. It was heart-breaking to see.

Following is a recent release from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission about the threat that line poses to wildlife, especially brown pelicans. After you read it, go to the Monofilament Recovery & Recycling Program website. And make sure that you read a couple of the listings under “Entanglement in the News.” They provide graphic evidence that monofilament and other fishing-related debris are lethal.

*     *    *

In Florida, fishing is an important part of our lifestyle as well as the economy. However, this enjoyable activity sometimes can lead to problems for birds and other wildlife, such as sea turtles and manatees. According to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission biologists, monofilament fishing line and fishing hooks that are improperly handled or discarded can entangle these animals, leading to injury and even death.

The brown pelican is one species that is especially impacted by monofilament line. These birds frequently spend time looking for an easy meal at piers and other fishing hotspots. They are often hooked accidently as they try to grab bait off an angler’s line. Discarded monofilament line can wind up hanging from trees, piers and other structures, and can ensnare these birds. Once entangled, pelicans can have a difficult time flying and feeding.

“We often find pelicans that died as a result of monofilament line entanglements hanging from trees and other vegetation,” said FWC regional biologist Ricardo Zambrano. “These birds often suffer for days before succumbing to injury or starvation.”

Here are some simple things you can do to help protect brown pelicans and other wildlife:

  •  Properly dispose of monofilament line. If you have unwanted line, store it safely and securely until it can be placed in a recycling bin.
  • Don’t leave fishing line unattended, as pelicans may be tempted to steal your bait.
  • Avoid casting near trees, utility lines and other areas where your line may get caught.
  • Check your tackle frequently for frayed line that may easily break.
  • Do not feed pelicans or other wildlife, since it encourages them to approach fishing boats, piers and anglers. If available, use fish-scrap repositories. If they are not available, discard your fish scraps in a garbage can or at home.

If you do accidentally hook a pelican, you should avoid cutting the line. Gently remove the hook if you feel confident you can do so without causing harm to yourself or the bird. If you cannot safely remove the hook and line from the pelican, contact a local wildlife rehabilitator. For a list of wildlife rehabilitators in your area, contact any of FWC’s five regional offices or consult the Wildlife Rehabilitation Information Directory


Everglades Devastation a Warning for Fisheries?

Python swallowing an alligator.

Pythons are wiping out wildlife in the Florida Everglades.

Here’s an excerpt from an article in the Tampa Bay Times:

“In a report published Monday, a team of scientists said they found that between 2003 and 2011, the areas where pythons had proliferated saw a 99 percent decrease in raccoons, a 98 percent drop in opossums, a 94 percent drop in white-tailed deer and an 87 percent falloff for bobcats. And that's not the worst of it.

“‘We observed no rabbits or foxes,’ the report noted.

“The bottom line: ‘In areas where pythons have been established the longest … mammal populations appear to have been severely reduced.’"

Of course, pythons are an exotic species that should not be in the Everglades. They are present because of the federal government’s failure to competently regulate the exotic pet industry.

Just add water and you get an idea of what could happen to our fish and other aquatic species because of exotic carp, snakeheads, gobies, and other invaders.

Granted, the snakehead is the only top-level aquatic predator so far --- as is the python on land --- but exotics can wipe out natives through means other than eating them. They can take over habitat and gobble up all of the food. They can introduce disease. In rare cases, they even can interbreed, weakening the genetic integrity of natives.

The truth is that established populations of invasives can have consequences that we can’t even contemplate until it’s already too late.