WATCH: Donut the manatee released after recovering from cold distress
WATCH: Donut the manatee released after recovering from cold distressPALM BAY, Fla. — A manatee named Donut was released in Palm Bay Tuesday. Donut was rescued in January after he showed signs of cold distress at Manatee Lagoon. SeaWorld said the manatee gained more than 100 pounds since he was rescued. So the fact that this one is able to be released is a great turnaround story,” said Amber Howell, a FWC manatee biologist. WATCH: Donut the manatee released after recovering from cold distressClick here to download the free WFTV news and weather apps, click here to download the WFTV Now app for your smart TV and click here to stream Channel 9 Eyewitness News live.wftv.com
UCF researchers uncover genetic clues that may help save sea turtles from mysterious disease
FWC reminds residents, visitors to help keep sea turtles safe during nesting seasonORLANDO, Fla. — UCF researchers said they’ve discovered 116 gene variants that could help save sea turtles from a mysterious disease. Researchers are also trying to figure out why some sea turtles, such as loggerheads, are rarely observed with the disease, while others, such as green sea turtles, are often afflicted. WATCH: “It’s global”: UCF researchers seeking cause of tumors found on local sea turtlesAbout half of the green sea turtles observed in the Indian River Lagoon have the disease, researchers say. The researchers said their next steps include expanding the sampling of green sea turtles and loggerheads, as well as sampling and analyzing genetic information from other sea turtle species. Photos: Sea turtle sightings along Central Florida shoresExpand Autoplay Image 1 of 22 SeaWorld sea turtle release After months of rehabilitation, SeaWorld returned 10 rehabbed, critically endangered sea turtles to the ocean in Brevard County on Monday.wftv.com
Dueling Dragons: Program works to build trust between children and law enforcement officers
It’s part of the Dueling Dragons of Orlando program, which works to build trust between children and law enforcement officers. For more than a decade, Dueling Dragons of Orlando has paired at-risk youth with police officers. READ: Orlando officer helps rescue malnourished dog and puppiesThe program teaches children life lessons of leadership and teamwork. Orlando Dueling Dragons program (WFTV.com News Staff)It’s fun and fulfilling for Officer Chris Chaplin with the Orlando Police Department. READ: FWC offers Spring BearWise tips to reduce conflicts with bears“We’ve had great kids come through.wftv.com
Here’s how non-native animals can pose a real threat to Florida wildlife
On this week’s edition of Florida’s Fourth Estate, hosts Ginger Gadsden and Matt Austin take a walk on the wild side and look closer at some of the more unusual creatures found slithering, climbing, hopping, running or burrowing in Florida.
Orlando-based nonprofit announces essay contest for kids with top prize worth thousands
Hotel near Kennedy Space Center with rooftop views of rocket launches to open in MarchORLANDO, Fla. — An Orlando-based nonprofit organization aimed at encouraging kids across the country to get interested in space has officially launched.
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Munching manatees seen eating food provided by Florida wildlife officials
A program to feed manatees facing starvation in Florida is starting to show some positive results. Manatee feeding stations have been placed around the state, but the marine mammals were not showing much interest. READ: ‘It’s heartbreaking’: What’s being done to curb record manatee deathsOn Friday, officials with Florida Fish and Wildlife shared video of manatees using the stations to eat lettuce that was given to them. FWC teams found groups of munching manatees eating the vegetation that was provided to them for the first time on Thursday. Florida state and federal law makes it illegal for people to feed manatees on their own.wftv.com
Florida bill will allow for the killing of bears in stand-your-ground defense, protecting others
Florida bill will allow for the killing of bears in stand-your-ground defense, protecting othersORLANDO, Fla. — A Florida bill going into effect in July will remove penalties for anyone acting in stand-your-ground self-defense against bear attacks in the state. WATCH: Charity offers free vet care for homeless people’s pets in OrlandoThe killing of a bear will be considered justified if a person feels threatened and believes that using such force is necessary to protect themselves or others. The bill will not allow for anyone to intentionally lure a bear with food or other attractants. FWC must also be notified within 24 hours of the bear’s death and the organization must be allowed to dispose of the bear. Click here to download the free WFTV news and weather apps, and click here to watch the latest news on your Smart TV.wftv.com
Florida wildlife officials search for animal abuser after gopher tortoise found painted pink
ST. LUCIS COUNTY, Fla. — Florida Fish and Wildlife are searching for whoever painted a gopher tortoise’s shell pink, to bring them to justice. FWC said at least two tortoises have been reported painted and they found and rescued one. READ: Florida family finds iguana swimming in toiletThe tortoise was recovered in St. Lucie County with bright pink paint on its shell and head. FWC said the tortoise was taken to an authorized facility to remove the paint. A second gopher tortoise with a painted shell was also reported but has not yet been found, officials said.wftv.com
3 arrested on attempted murder charges after ATV attack on Florida wildlife officer
POLK COUNTY, Fla. – Polk County authorities have arrested a third person after a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officer was run over by an ATV during a Saturday night confrontation, officials said. The officer was patrolling the Avon Park Bombing Range when, officials said, he spotted three people shining a spotlight into the Avon Park Bombing Range property. When the officer approached the individuals, a scuffle broke out, according to sheriff’s officials. The Polk County Sheriff’s Office says the assailants ran over the officer as they fled the scene. Rodrigo Alberto Mato La Rosa was apprehended in South Florida and also faces a charge of attempted murder on a law enforcement officer.
Manatee mystery: Sea cow found decapitated in Florida
MIAMI – A manatee mystery has South Florida officials scratching their heads after one of the gentle sea cows was found dead, WPLG-TV reported. “I came over here and I see this giant manatee without a head,” Mahomar told Local 10. “Salinity control structures closing on manatees was the second leading cause of deaths of manatees in the state of Florida,” said Silverstein. Now, as those gates are closing, if it detects the presence of a manatee those gates are supposed to stop. That leads to a question of whether those sensors were working at the time the manatee Mahomar found was crushed.
Orlando Weekly Voting Guide 2020: Vote yes on these Orange County Charter Amendments
click to enlarge Photo courtesy FWCSplit OakYou can read the full text of the proposed county charter amendments on your sample ballot or at this Orange County link . It turns out all three are worthwhile additions to our county's local governing charter.If corporations can have rights like people, why not give legal standing to our natural resources, which have otherwise had unequal protection?It would restrict the Board of Orange County Commissioners' ability to amend, modify, or revoke restrictions and covenants involving the Split Oak Forest.Expands signature periods for citizens to make changes to the county charter. Anything that helps increase participatory democracy gets a nod from us.orlandoweekly.com
Critics of Florida toll roads projected to run through wild areas say the planning process is not transparent
“But what they didn't share was the sentiment of those comments. “Tracking it this way has allowed the department to ensure the topics mentioned by the public were discussed at task force meetings. This means that, in the event the proposed corridors meet environmental and financial feasibility, the task forces have had the opportunity to consider all actionable feedback and input via multiple productive discussions.”Frady noted environmental and financial feasibility studies will be conducted in the next phases of the program. An open house is set for Thursday at the Madison County Church of God in Madison.The Northern Turnpike Corridor Task Force, which is working on the turnpike extension, will meet Wednesday. An open house is Thursday at the Plantation on Crystal River.orlandoweekly.com
Reward offered for help identifying boat involved in hit-and-run on Lake Monroe
SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is offering a $5,000 reward for information about a fatal boating crash that happened in May. According to Chad Weber, of the FWC, a 43-year-old man on his personal watercraft was hit by a fishing boat around 10:30 a.m. on May 23 on Lake Monroe near channel marker 6. Weber said witnesses reported seeing a fishing boat hit a personal watercraft and then leaving the area. FWC said two good Samaritan vessels stopped to help the victim and brought him back to the Wayside boat ramp. Authorities said the boat may have front end damage or have black paint transferred on it from the crash.
Heres when you can go saltwater fishing without a license
On Saturday, Sept. 5, you can go saltwater fishing without a license. Its one of eight days of license-free fishing in 2020 offered by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. License-free fishing days are a great way for Florida residents and visitors to get out on the water and find out why Florida is known as the Fishing Capital of the World. The only remaining license-free fishing day n 2020 is the Saturday following Thanksgiving and it applies to saltwater fishing as well. For fishing regulations and tips, click here and to renew or purchase a fishing license, visit GoOutdoorsFlorida.com.
Girl struck by boat in Cocoa Beach hit-and-run, FWC says
COCOA BEACH, Fla. – Update 2:40 p.m.Officials have located the person who was involved in the hit-and-run. The young swimmer was hit at 12:21 p.m. and the vessel left the scene, according to the FWC. FWC officers and deputies with the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office were searching for the boat. Around 10:30 p.m., FWC officials said they located the person involved. Authorities did not provide a description of the boat or the girl’s condition.
Floridas Gulf red snapper fishing season starts this week
Anglers will be excited to learn the 2020 Gulf red snapper season starts Thursday in Florida. For-hire operation red snapper fishing began June 1 and runs until Aug. 1 this year. State Reef Fish Anglers will help improve recreational data for several reef fish species such snapper, grouper and hogfish, according to FWCs website. In July, the Atlantic federal red snapper season opens in federal waters on July 10, 11, 12 and 17. Fishing for red snapper in state waters, which is 3 nautical miles from shore, is open year-round, according to FWC.
Doughnuts prove irresistible to bear on the loose in Fort Myers
After a May mornings chase through downtown Fort Myers, the trap doors shut behind a young black bear. In such a heavily traveled area, tranquilizing the bear wasnt an option, Brown said, because the drugs dont always work immediately. Black bears in Florida typically range from 250 to 450 pounds for males and 125 to 250 pounds for females. The Fort Myers Police Department tweeted a photo of a bemused-looking officer with a beware of dog sign on a yard containing the bear. When officers arrived on scene the bear had moved to Jeffcott Street and FWC biologists were able to trap the bear near Hanson Street.ocala.com
Doughnuts prove irresistible to bear on the loose in Fort Myers
After a May mornings chase through downtown Fort Myers, the trap doors shut behind a young black bear. In such a heavily traveled area, tranquilizing the bear wasnt an option, Brown said, because the drugs dont always work immediately. Black bears in Florida typically range from 250 to 450 pounds for males and 125 to 250 pounds for females. The Fort Myers Police Department tweeted a photo of a bemused-looking officer with a beware of dog sign on a yard containing the bear. When officers arrived on scene the bear had moved to Jeffcott Street and FWC biologists were able to trap the bear near Hanson Street.dailycommercial.com
Doughnuts prove irresistible to bear on the loose in Fort Myers
After a May mornings chase through downtown Fort Myers, the trap doors shut behind a young black bear. In such a heavily traveled area, tranquilizing the bear wasnt an option, Brown said, because the drugs dont always work immediately. Black bears in Florida typically range from 250 to 450 pounds for males and 125 to 250 pounds for females. The Fort Myers Police Department tweeted a photo of a bemused-looking officer with a beware of dog sign on a yard containing the bear. When officers arrived on scene the bear had moved to Jeffcott Street and FWC biologists were able to trap the bear near Hanson Street.news-journalonline.com
FWC seeks information in fatal hit-and-run on Lake Monroe
FWC seeks information in fatal hit-and-run on Lake MonroePublished: May 24, 2020, 6:46 pmThe Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is asking for the public's help as it seeks information about a hit-and-run that occurred on Lake Monroe.
Hit-and-run: Lake Mary man killed when boat strikes personal watercraft on Lake Monroe
According to Chad Weber with FWC, the boating accident occurred at about 10:30 a.m. Saturday on Lake Monroe near channel marker 6. "FWC is trying to piece together what took place," Weber said. Weber said witnesses reported seeing a fishing boat hit a personal watercraft and then leave the area. FWC said two good Samaritan vessels stopped to help the victim and brought him back to Wayside boat ramp. Weber said FWC officers are following up on leads, but they face several challenges to solve this hit and run.
Critically endangered right whale calf hit by boat off Georgia coast
When FWC spotted it the endangered right whale calf, experts noticed two "parallel and s-shaped" injuries, which tend to be consistent with propeller wounds. [READ MORE: Endangered right whales spotted off Flagler Beach]NOAA right whale expert Barb Zoodsma said FWC spotted the calf and its mother Wednesday while taking photos. Derecha, the right whale mother spotted Tuesday, was first spotted in Dec. 1993, making her at least 27 years old. Albert said that human presence can alter a right whales mood they get stressed out, just like humans do, she said. Anyone who sees what they think is a North Atlantic Right Whale should call 888-979-4253, NOAAs right whale hot line.news-journalonline.com
State removes thousands of invasive Burmese pythons from the Florida Everglades
@MyFWCs Python Action Team has removed its 1,000th Burmese python from the Everglades - this is in addtion to the 2,600 pythons removed by the @SFWMDs Python Elimination Program. Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) November 4, 2019Chart showing bounties for different python lengths via FWCThe state of Florida has been invaded. No, not just by Wawa gas stations and tax-dodging New Yorkers moving in, but another environmental threat: the Burmese python.The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission announced Monday it has removed 1,000 invasive Burmese pythons from the Everglades. We join our partners at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Everglades National Park in celebrating more than 3,600 pythons removed from the Everglades. To put this recent accomplishment into perspective, 3,600 adult Burmese pythons lined up from end to end would be roughly 11 miles of snakes talk about a slough of serpents.orlandoweekly.com
Native turtle trafficking ring busted in Florida
(CNN) - Two men have been charged for poaching thousands of Florida turtles and selling them illegally, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. More than 4,000 turtles comprising a range of native species were illegally captured and sold over six months, the commission said. "The illegal trade of turtles is having a global impact on many turtle species and our ecosystems," said Eric Sutton, the FWC's executive director. After receiving a tip in February 2018, the FWC launched an undercover investigation where they discovered a ring of traffickers who were selling wild turtles to reptile dealers and distributors. "Wild turtle populations cannot sustain the level of harvest that took place here," said Brooke Talley, the FWC's reptile and amphibian conservation coordinator.
Florida man arrested after allegedly pouring beer into alligators mouth
A Florida man held the alligator in his left hand and enticed the animal to bite his right forearm, according to an FWC arrest report. PALM CITY A video showing beer being poured into an alligators mouth resulted in criminal charges last week for two Martin County men. According to an FWC arrest report, Kepke held the alligator in his left hand and enticed the animal to bite his right forearm. Once the alligator released its bite, Kepke poured beer into its mouth, causing the animal to aggressively react, the report said. For more Florida stories, visit here, and to support local media throughout the state of Florida, consider subscribing to your local paper.dailycommercial.com
Man who dragged shark to death in viral video is sentenced
WPTV/FWC via CNN(CNN) - A man involved in a viral video showing him laughing and smiling as a shark gets dragged to death behind a high-speed boat in Florida was sentenced to 10 days in jail. Robert Lee Benac, now 30, was charged Friday with one misdemeanor count of animal cruelty, according to Hillsbourgh County jail records and his attorney, Justin Brent Petredis. Benac was initially charged with two felony counts of aggravated animal cruelty before accepting a plea deal, according to the Tampa Bay Times. The court dropped one charge and reduced the other to animal cruelty, a misdemeanor, Petredis told CNN on Monday. According to Florida wildlife investigators, the shark was shot before being dragged to death.
Florida man sets new record by catching a 69-pound catfish
But, it was the first and only fish we caught that day. I never would have been able to bring the fish into the boat without his help.Griffin brought the fish to the FWCs Blackwater Hatchery near Holt, where biologists weighed and certified it as the new state record. With Griffins family history of state record catches, it seems that this family takes advantage of their quality time spent on the water. We are proud to award this state record to such an avid outdoor enthusiast.I have always wanted to catch a state record, said Griffin. Also, you can compare your catch with the FWCs state record databaseorlandoweekly.com
Pictures show rescued manatee arriving at SeaWorld
ORLANDO, Fla. – SeaWorld came to the rescue by caring for an orphaned manatee calf that was reported last week by a good Samaritan in Daytona Beach. Staff from Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, the Volusia County Stranding Team, and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation arrived at the Halifax Harbor Marina to rescue the 64-pound, 4-foot animal with a hoop net. The calf was then taken to SeaWorld in Orlando, where the orphaned mammal is receiving special attention. According to FWC, manatees range throughout Florida waters, and the major threats to the endangered species include death from human-related causes and habitat loss.