Protecting Endangered Species

Scientists have estimated that up to one-third of U.S. species are at an increased risk of extinction and more than 1,600 U.S. plants and animals have already been listed as endangered and protected.

Expand and Protect Wildlife Corridors

In Florida, our wildlife corridor helps protect nearly 700 species at risk.

Protecting Biodiversity

We Can:

  • Protect species at risk of going extinct

  • Expand and Protect Wildlife Corridors

  • Limit Expansion of Unnecessary Roads

More endangered species are nearing extinction every day. Scientists have estimated that up to one-third of U.S. species are at an increased risk of extinction and more than 1,600 U.S. plants and animals have already been listed as endangered and protected under the Endangered Species Act.[1] This is a very concerning issue because once these species are gone, we cannot get them back and many of them provide ecosystem services that are worth saving. Lesser known species can even offer benefits for our human well-being, such as cancer-fighting drugs.[2] If you don’t think it’s worth saving these species for their sake, then at least consider protecting them for our future. The Commissioner of Agriculture can take action to protect the habitats and lives of these endangered species. 

It is essential that we start to protect wildlife corridors. Wildlife corridors are areas of a habitat that provide passage for species across artificial obstacles such as dams and roads.[3] Conserving these corridors is critical for maintaining our endangered species, but many of them are now blocked by roads, development, and large masses of barbed wire.[4] This hinders seasonal migration and wildlife movement, which is necessary to survive. Wildlife corridors help keep animals safe from busy highways and other potentially dangerous man-made obstacles.[5] In Florida, our wildlife corridor helps protect nearly 700 species at risk. With large numbers of people moving here every day, we need to protect these areas now more than ever. [6]

The expansion of roads and the building of other structures often have harmful impacts on the habitats and lives of many endangered species. It can result in the fragmentation of habitats, cutting off of migration routes, and the diversion of water from freshwater habitats that are already struggling through a drought.[7] While roads and railways are necessary for the transportation of goods, services, and humans, many of these structures are not designed with wildlife in mind. The Federal Highway Administration says that death by car represents a serious threat to 21 imperiled species, making vehicles one of the biggest threats to U.S. wildlife populations.[8] Infrastructure and vehicles also create increased pollution that contributes to nitrogen dioxide emissions which turn into acid rain and damage our ecosystems.[9] Limiting the expansion of unnecessary roads is necessary for our wildlife.

[1] https://www.nwf.org/Our-Work/Wildlife-Conservation/Endangered-Species

[2] https://news.mongabay.com/2016/01/why-should-i-care-about-endangered-species/

[3] https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/what-is-a-wildlife-corridor.html

[4] https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/articles/2022/06/22/to-better-protect-fish-and-wildlife-congress-should-conserve-migration-routes

[5] https://www.geographyrealm.com/introduction-wildlife-corridors/

[6] https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/earth-systems/blog/the-florida-wildlife-corridor-act-what-is-it-and-what-changes-will-it-bring/

[7] https://www.worldwildlife.org/threats/infrastructure

[8] https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/roadkill-endangers-endangered-wildlife/

[9] https://www.worldwildlife.org/threats/infrastructure

Education

So, What Can We Do?!

By chapter 570 section 71 of the Florida Statutes, the Commissioner of Agriculture has the power to protect agricultural lands that are threatened by conversion. The statutes state that the Commissioner may “prohibit the construction or placing of buildings, roads, or… other structures, except those structures and unpaved roads necessary for the agricultural operations on the land or structures.”[1] Preventing this construction will help preserve wildlife corridors and limit the expansion of roads that obstruct the habitats of endangered species. The Commissioner can also advocate for the promotion and improvement of wildlife habitats to help them thrive and recover. 

 

Past Commissioners of Agriculture overall have done little to help with this issue. We must have a commissioner that will fight to ensure that the endangered species in Florida are being protected.

[1] http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0500-0599/0570/Sections/0570.71.html