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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Vern Buchanan’s to-do list; stop horse slaughter, enhance Endangered Species Act

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Congress has been on summer break for a long time, but when they finally return to Washington next week, Vern Buchanan has quite a to-do list of the people’s business. Among which, the Sarasota Republican will offer amendments to a government funding bill which bans horse slaughter, combats red tide and protects endangered species.

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Florida: Record number of manatees killed in 2016 by boats

in Apolitical/Top Headlines by

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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13,000 hunters apply for gator permits

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

More than 6,000 permits have been issued to hunt Florida alligators, and some 13,000 hunters have applied for permits. The Naples Daily News reported that each permit allows a hunter to kill two alligators during the hunting season which began last week. Florida has more than a million alligators, according to estimates, and they’re in all 67 counties. But hunting them wasn’t always allowed. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service placed them on the endangered species list in 1967, and…

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Manatees flock to 72-degree springs to escape cold

in Apolitical/Top Headlines by

Like most sensible creatures, manatees – the sea cows that live in the waters around Florida – seek warmth when it’s cold. On Thursday morning, roughly 500 of the gentle, aquatic giants crowded into the Three Sisters Springs as temperatures along Florida’s Gulf Coast dipped below 50 degrees. “They’re basically chilling in the springs sleeping,” said Ivan Vincente, visitor services specialist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge. “They’re spending the vast majority of…

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U.S. wildlife officials decide on manatee status petition

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

Federal wildlife officials will announce their decision on a petition to reclassify Florida’s iconic manatees as “threatened” instead of “endangered.” The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has scheduled a news conference for Thursday afternoon in Miami to discuss its review of the manatee’s status. A Florida business group and the conservative Pacific Legal Foundation petitioned the government in 2012 to reclassify the manatee, citing a 2007 federal review that recommended listing the species as threatened because the population is recovering.…

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U.S. dentist who killed Cecil the lion set to return to work

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The Minnesota dentist whose killing of Cecil the lion sparked a global backlash emerged for an interview in which he disputed some accounts of the hunt, expressed agitation at the animosity directed at those close to him and said he would be back at work within days. Walter Palmer, who has spent more than a month out of sight after becoming the target of protests and threats, intends to return to his suburban Minneapolis dental practice Tuesday. In an interview…

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Thousands of birds abandon eggs, nests on Florida island

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The din created by thousands of nesting birds is usually the first thing you notice about Seahorse Key, a 150-acre mangrove-covered dune off Florida’s Gulf Coast. But in May, the key fell eerily quiet all at once. Thousands of little blue herons, roseate spoonbills, snowy egrets, pelicans and other chattering birds were gone. Nests sat empty in trees; eggs broken and scattered on the muddy ground. “It’s a dead zone now,” said Vic Doig, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service…

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