South Florida Wood Storks Making a Comeback
Wood storks seem to be making a successful comeback in South Florida and elsewhere.
The Everglades once supported a nesting population of anywhere from 5,000 to 15,000 pairs, according to Everglades National Park. By 1995, fewer than 500 pairs of wood storks were nesting in the park and Big Cypress National Preserve.
Federal researchers proposed changing the wood storks' "endangered" designation to "threatened" five years ago, and have been working on updated recovery plans. Last week, the Center for Biological Diversity agreed it was time to change the listing.
"From the brink of extinction, the wood stork multiplied to 12,000 nesting pairs in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina," said Marty Bergoffen, endangered species organizer for the group.
Resembling a large ibis but with a bald head, wood storks occasionally can be spotted in the Keys, and along the 18 Mile Stretch of U.S. 1 south of Florida City. They are the only stork species that breeds in the United States.
"The beautiful wood stork is just one of hundreds of species the Endangered Species Act has successfully put on the road to recovery," Bergoffen said.
If declared a "threatened" species, wood storks would retain most of the protections they receive as endangered, he noted.
Copyright © 2012 Keysnet.com.
This article originally appeared here.
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