Florida's Everglades Snail Kite on Top 10 Endangered Species Report
By Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - FL
November 15, 2012
EVERGLADES CITY, Fla. - Declining quality and availability of fresh water in Florida is putting wildlife at risk, according to a new report.
The study released this week by the Endangered Species Coalition highlights 10 species that are endangered as a result of water mismanagement. In Florida, that includes the Everglades Snail Kite, a species has been endangered since the 1960s and relies on a freshwater apple snail as its only source of food.
Leda Huta, executive director of the coalition, explains the reportís significance.
"When we look at the country and what we've done to our freshwater resources, it's frightening. Every animal has its role to play in the ecosystem."
Huta says humans have altered the natural water flow in the Everglades, making it difficult for the apple snail to survive. She also cites instances of toxins building up in the snails that are then passed on to the Snail Kite.
The declining availability and quality of water comes at a time when the planet can expect to have less fresh water availability because of global warming, Huta says.
"We will see more drought and water scarcities due to climate change that we've created and having an increasing population so those two together are going to have even greater impact on our fresh water."
The report highlights things people can do to reduce their demand on fresh water, which makes up only 1 percent of the water on the planet. The recommendations include landscaping with native plants, reducing the size of lawns and using water-efficient appliances and toilets.
Other animals on the national list include salmon, antelope and mountain yellow-legged frogs.
The report is online at stopextinction.org.