When we discussed about the habitat destruction of the Florida Panthers, I thought of the Florida Wood Stork. I went on a bird tour in Myakka Park which took us around the Myakka lake, and learned about the endangered Wood Stork; a bird that stood out to me because there is one who often hangs out around my neighborhood. I see this guy every week mostly around summer, and he just spends his day wandering around the empty golf course of University Palm Aire alone. He is very striking in appearance, and not to be confused with the Sandhill cranes that are commonly around. This little guy is relevant because he has a similar story as to what happened to the Florida Panther, and how these animals are having to result to try and survive in the lands that we have taken over. .
Wood storks are so closely attuned to the natural cycles of Florida’s wetlands that their wellbeing is an indicator of the health of our wetlands themselves. The disappearance of the wood stork would signal the loss of a valuable resource. Estimates are that we have less than twenty years before this comes to pass. source
Fortunately, it seems that action is being taken in conjunction with Florida’s “Save our Rivers” program promoting watershed restoration that will also help the endangered status of the Wood Stork. But what makes the Wood Stork more or less than any other endangered animal? Although it would seem that “adaptation” would be a prime example of animals learning to survive in their changing environments, is it really so fair to say that when we could so easily be careful of where we build our cities and how we do it, so that could easily prevent the endangerment of species and the destruction of environments?
Photo by Mary Ellen Urbanski, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Image credit