Four Florida species land on Last Chance list

Four Florida species land on Last Chance list

FORT MYERS

A report from the Endangered Species Coalition highlights 10 species in its Last Chance report and four of those are in Florida.

The species are imperiled due to climate change.

On the list this year are monarch butterflies, the diamondback terrapin, the Florida key deer and the elkhorn coral.

“This year, the monarch numbers have increased, which is a wonderful thing. Last year, the numbers were really, really poor, especially in California,” said Sherri Williams, the curator for the Florida Native Butterfly Society at the Butterfly Estates.

Williams helps to raise the monarchs.

While the monarchs at the Butterfly Estates are year-round residents, migratory monarchs face hardship from the use of pesticides, floods and droughts.

Williams said there are steps people can take at home to help the critters.

“The most important thing would be to plant milkweed, especially for the monarchs, because that’s the only food the caterpillars can eat is milkweed,” Williams said. “And the most important thing is to make sure there’s not any weed killer or pesticides on that plant.”

Threats to the species include extreme temperatures and severe weather.

“This doesn’t mean that these are necessarily the top ten in terms of the most endangered, the most imperiled, but they’re really good representation, right, of this broad range of species that are, that are facing really big threats,” said Diana Umpierre an organizing representative with the Sierra Club. “We do have hope, right, here we are at a moment when we can still take very definite actions, right, to make sure … we can save as many species as possible.”

MORE:

Read the report here.

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