Big Cypress National Preserve protects over 729,000 acres of freshwater wetlands in south Florida. Together with neighboring Everglades National Park, the preserve is essential to the health of the state’s diverse wildlife and marine estuaries. It’s also a place of stunning beauty and amazing outdoor experiences. Aerial photo by John Kellam, National Park Service.

Decembird Day 7: Endangered

Snail Kite (Rostrhamus sociabilis)

The Florida Everglades population of this species has been protected by the Endangered Species Act since 1967, even though the species as a whole is listed as IUCN Least Concern due to strong numbers in Central America. It is threatened by the loss of freshwater marsh habitat and consequently the decline of its primary food source, the apple snail.

#3 The Skunk Ape

Deep in the uncharted mangrove and cypress swamps of the Florida Everglades, there are stories of an extremely stinky creature. The Skunk Ape! An enormous primate that has often been referred to as Florida’s Bigfoot. With a nauseating aroma that can reportedly be smelled a mile away, this elusive creature made it’s debut a while back in the 20′s, but really hit it off in the 70′s when it was seen  many times roaming around Miami-Dade County! (gulp! That’s MY neck of the woods!)

Sightings died down until the year 2000, when a Sarasota woman took the famous “Mayaka Photos” which definitely proved without a doubt that she took a picture of something!

Help us celebrate World Wetlands Day! Among the world’s most productive environments, wetlands are critically important to freshwater supply, biodiversity, flood control and food production. They’re also places of stunning natural beauty. Photo from the Pa-hay-okee overlook at Everglades National Park in Florida courtesy of Paul Marcellini.

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Sunburst over the Everglades from an airboat.

Everglades National Park in Florida is a subtle place where earth, water and sky blend in a low green landscape – where mere inches of elevation produce distinct changes in vegetation and a great wealth of birds and other unique wildlife find refuge. One of the most environmentally significant regions in the world, this special park can also impress with its sublime beauty. Sunset photo courtesy of Aryeh Nirenberg.