Save the Natives - Kill the Invaders

Burmese pythons are wrestling alligators in the Everglades. African monitor lizards, up to seven feet long, are invading canals in Cape Coral. Vervet monkeys hang around a car lot near Fort Lauderdale, and South American monk parakeets wreak havoc on power lines, while Cuban tree frogs colonize, and gobble up native frogs as they go. The southern end of Florida, the most tropical state outside Hawaii, is teeming with exotic beasts that have no business being here, and the cost to native wildlife is high. Just how high? There’s only one way to find out. We’re going in ...

That's a tv-guide descriptive from a 'science fact' project that Brooks and I are developing, in response to a growing problem in Florida that's been gaining way too much traction for a number of years now, and one that has, undeniably, reached critical mass. Cats and dogs living together? No problem, but this is getting out of hand. In addition to the work we do with sharks, and their declining populations, we spend time on the other side of that conservation coin in the ongoing battle with non-native species and efforts to support, promote and carry out some of their eradication.


Ironic? Indeed. And it's just the kind of subject that creates more annoyingly unnecessary controversy in the world of wildlife management, animal rights / welfare and ... conservation. For now, let me just say that some plants and animals have no right being here and they’re wreaking havoc with those that do. It’s really, just that damn simple. For those that may disagree, take that carrot out of your ear and listen up. Southeast Florida was the epicenter for this problem and it is spreading. We live nearly two-hundred miles away, on the gulf side of the state, and are now experiencing invading invasives of our own. More on that later, but I will say I'm looking forward to an upcoming field trip and video shoot that will result in my first taste of barbecued Boca Grande iguana.

For now, here's a piece that lead the news this week. It's a fish story, and one that that clearly illustrates man's ignorant bliss when it comes to messing with Mother Nature. For those adverse to intentional non-native species eradication programs and initiatives, it's important to know that these fish didn't fall out of the sky. Neither did the burmese pythons or Australian pines or vervet monkeys or those voracious Cuban tree frogs. Human idiots created a problem that has resulted in what some would call inhumane solutions.

Come to think of it, I haven't had frog legs in a while ...

State Wildlife Officials use Toxicant to Kill Piranhas

More related commentary by Michael Hutchins on 'The Wildlife Society' blog

His Take on the Piranha Story