Feds Take Possible First Step Toward Freeing Lolita, Miami Seaquarium's Orca

Categories: Environmental

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With the popularity of the documentary Blackfish, which focuses on captive orcas at SeaWorld, public debate over keeping the endangered species in captivity has reignited.

For years, activists have tried to have Lolita, an orca held captive at the Miami Seaquarium, released. Today, federal officials announced that they are taking the first steps toward having Lolita included in the endangered species listing for Puget Sound orcas. It could be a possible path to having Lolita released to a more natural setting.

See also: Seaquarium Activists Push to Free Lolita the Whale

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Here's What Happens When You Strap a Camera to an Alligator's Head

Categories: Environmental

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On first glance, the image to the right looks like an alligator with a laser strapped to its back, which is surely some evil genius's biggest dream. In reality, it's a camera placed there by University of Florida biologists. That may not be as exciting as laser-armed gators, but getting to see a gator-eyed view of the world is pretty neat.

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Alligators Prevail in Rematch Against Pythons (Photo)

Categories: Environmental

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A 2006 image of the aftermath of an Everglades showdown between an invasive Burmese python and a native alligator has become oddly iconic in all its gruesome glory. Neither animal survived the encounter.

Well, authorities in the Everglades recently discovered a rematch, and let's just say this time it was a clear victory for Team Alligator.

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Record 16 Percent of Florida's Manatee Population Died This Year

Categories: Environmental

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Over 800 manatees have died this year in Florida waters; the highest number of deaths recorded since records were initiated back in the '70s. That's sixteen percent of the state's total population, and more than twice the number of manatees that died last year.

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Someone in the Keys Is Torturing Pelicans

Categories: Environmental

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Wikimedia Commons
It began December 6 when a boat captain discovered a pelican on Summerland Key that was all but sure to starve. Someone had cut two six-inch lacerations in the bird, which exposed the creature's trachea and prevented it from swallowing food. Since that gruesome find, at least ten other birds have been discovered with their pouches slashed in a similar manner.

Most recently, two were discovered last night near Summerland and Cudjoe keys. The suffering animals underwent emergency surgery last night at South Dade Animal Hospital. Although those two birds will reportedly be fine after six weeks of rehabilitation, five others have died so far from these attacks.

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Florida Fisherman Nabs 800-Pound Stingray Off Miami Beach

Categories: Environmental

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via Instagram
Mark Quartiano has drawn many comparisons to famous fishermen throughout history. In August 1991, Life magazine called him a modern Captain Ahab. Exactly 20 years later, author Juliet Eilperin coined the name Captain Quint (from Jaws) for him. But Quartiano didn't make waves this weekend over a shark or a whale. This time he caught an 800-pound stingray off Miami Beach.

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Move Over Pythons, Invasive Meat-Eating Lizards Are the Everglades' New Pest

Categories: Environmental

While Burmese pythons have gotten all the attention, the Everglades now faces a threat from another foreign reptile menace: Argentine tegu lizards. When scientists first detected their presence in the swamp back in 2008, they thought they had a good chance to eradicate them, but it's too late now. Much like those pythons, the tegu lizards are a problem the Everglades will have to deal with for a long time.

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Du Pont Mansion in Coconut Grove Is Buried in Poison

Categories: Environmental

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Illustration by Pat Kinsella
At the end of a leafy, dead-end street in Coconut Grove, past actor Christian Slater's new digs and the sprawling grounds of Hollywood director David Frankel's home, sit mounds of rubble. Just a few days ago, this was one of Miami's grandest, most envied private homes: the five-acre, 26,000-square-foot du Pont estate.

But the house was bulldozed to make way for minimansions. On the property's north side, St. Gaudens Road slopes gradually down to Biscayne Bay. At the road's end, beneath a mangrove-shaded guardrail, are coarse, glittering bits of melted glass, tiny clumps of metal, and other telltale toxic detritus of Miami's long-closed municipal incinerators.

The du Pont estate was built atop an ash dump.

See also: Miami's Toxic Parks

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28 Monkeys Seized From Black Market Sales Ring in Miami

Categories: Environmental

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Jim Ankan Deka / WikiComons / CC2.0
If you look hard enough you'll be able to find just about anything for sale on Miami's black market, apparently, including monkeys.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission announced today that they've cracked down on an illegal business that was breeding and selling monkeys, and seized 28 primates from the biz.

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Two Plants That Grow Only in Miami-Dade Might Be Protected Under Endangered Species Act

Categories: Environmental

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The Florida brickell bush and the Carter's small-flowered flax are two flowering plants that grow nowhere else in the world except for Miami-Dade County. Yesterday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that the plants deserve special protection under the Endangered Species Act and that the 2,700 acres where they grow could be off-limits to developers.

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