Imagine standing on the side of Interstate 4 trying to find an opportunity to cross as semi trucks whir by - only you don’t know exactly what these loud, fast monstrosities are, because in this scenario you are a bear. Maybe there’s a fresh food or water source on the other side of the highway, or you may have been evicted from your home territory by a bigger, stronger bear. Anyway, you’ve left the safety of the trees and have now come to face the dizzying bustle of the roadway.
Why should conserving a tract of wild and rural areas stretching the length of Florida matter to people? The answer is multi-faceted: Agriculture, economics, water and recreation.
Agriculture is the second biggest economy in our state, next to tourism. Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition co-leader, Carlton Ward Jr., explains that this project depends on farms, ranches and other private lands to connect already designated conservation areas.
WFIT has been following the ongoing Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition on an outdoor adventure through the sunshine state. This team of conservationists is showcasing some of the state's unique landscapes while stressing the need for contiguity of wild and pastoral places.
Black bears and panthers are two of Florida’s imperiled wildlife species. Both are facing a daunting obstacle to their survival: habitat fragmentation caused by development like roadways, subdivisions and shopping malls. By isolating habitats, human expansion jeopardizes genetic diversity in wildlife populations. Disease and hereditary defects are often the result.
On January 17, four conservationists embark on a 1000 mile expedition to raise awareness about the Florida Wildlife Corridor opportunity area.
Photojournalist Carlton Ward Jr., bear biologist Joe Guthrie, conservationist Mallory Lykes Dimmitt, and cinematographer Elam Stoltzfus will navigate through waterways, wetlands, farmlands and forests, making their way from the Everglades toward Okefenokee National Forest in southern Georgia.