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Florida panther deaths still at record-high for 2016

in Apolitical/Top Headlines by

A record number of endangered Florida panthers died again last year — 42 of the remaining big cats were killed, matching the 2015 record. Thirty-four were hit by vehicles in southwest Florida, where development is shrinking what’s left of their habitat. The tally kept by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission includes six new litters, with a total of 14 cubs born in 2016. But the state estimates that only 100 to 180 of the big cats remain in…

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Frank Artiles takes on the tegu

in Statewide/Top Headlines by
tegu lizards

The tegu lizard is dead to Frank Artiles. The Republican state senator from Miami-Dade County filed legislation (SB 230) Tuesday to eradicate the non-native reptile from Florida. The lizard is “decimat(ing) the fauna and flora of the Everglades and other natural areas and ecosystems in the southern and central parts of this state at an accelerating rate,” the bill says. Tegus, native to South America and brought to Florida as pets, have either escaped or been released over the years, creating…

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Florida: Record number of manatees killed in 2016 by boats

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A record number of manatees were killed in 2016 by boat strikes, according to state wildlife data, but overall the number of the beloved sea cows increased in Florida this year. Data posted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission data show that 98 endangered manatees died by watercraft strikes between Jan. 1 and Dec. 2. The previous record was 97 in 2009, according to state records. A count earlier this year found about 6,300 manatees in Florida, which…

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Ex-FWC officer sues for job back under ‘whistleblower’ law

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A former officer with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is suing for his job back, saying he was fired in retaliation for blowing the whistle on wrongdoing. Travis Hooker filed suit last week in Leon County Circuit Civil Court under the state’s whistleblower law. The decorated combat Marine, who was stationed in Iraq, was a lieutenant in the FWC’s law enforcement division. He alleged that his October 2015 firing came after alerting superiors that another officer was attending his son’s Little League games while on duty. The suit…

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Apollo Beach man sues buddy for shooting him in face during duck hunt

in Local Courts by

It was duck season in Florida when an Apollo Beach man was shot in the face by a fellow hunter in Cockroach Bay. On Jan. 3, 2015, Jason Tackus was duck hunting with his buddies when he was caught in the crossfire of one hunters’ shot. Michael Wilson discharged his firearm with Tackus blocking the shot. Tackus was “struck by shot or pellets,” according to the complaint filed Oct. 24, 2016. Tackus and his wife are suing Wilson for negligence…

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Florida wildlife officials: Be on lookout for Pasco monkey

in The Bay and the 'Burg by

Florida state wildlife officials are asking the public to be on the lookout for a monkey in Pasco County. According to Fox 13 television station the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says they’ve received reports of a rhesus macaque in the area of Hudson Beach this week. Rhesus macaques are not native to Florida and officials aren’t sure how it got there. But they don’t want it there much longer. Wildlife officials snapped a photo of the primate sitting on…

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College-bound bear? Authorities capture bear near FSU campus

in Apolitical/Top Headlines by

Wildlife officials have tranquilized a black bear that wandered close to the campus of Florida State University. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said in a release that authorities removed the bear Wednesday morning. It will be relocated to a different area. The release stated that there was “no reason to believe” that there are any other bears nearby. Wildlife officials found the bear about three blocks west of FSU and the school’s football stadium. The bear was also…

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