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National Key Deer Refuge – Population Studies Drive Management Actions

The number of Key deer deaths due to New World screwworm infestation has remained stable at 132 for more than a week; however, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) officials are remaining diligent with protection measures to save this endangered species. The screwworm outbreak has increased the normal mortality rate within the small population of…

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Emergency Declared After Flesh-Eating Screwworm Found in Florida Keys

The fearsome screwworm is back. Federal officials have identified a small outbreak of the insect, also known as the New World screwworm fly (Cochliomyia hominivorax), in a population of deer and possibly some pets in Big Pine Key, Florida. The United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service confirmed that the pest…

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Things to Do In And Around Key West : For Animal Lovers

Want to get to know Key West wildlife? (And no, we’re not talking about nightly festivities at Sloppy Joe’s on Duval Street.) If you’re the kind of person who always puts the local zoo on your travel itinerary, or who fumbles over your camera every time a squirrel or lizard make an appearance during vacation,…

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Florida Keys Summer Camps 2016

The following is a sample of some of the Florida Keys Summer Camps. Marathon sailing Summer sailing in Marathon’s Boot Key Harbor will begin with the first two week session beginning June 13 – June 24.  Each session will consist of 10 three hour classes in either the morning (9am –Noon) or afternoon (1‐4pm).  Younger sailors (5‐8…

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Key Deer Are Conservation Success Story – Still Face Threats

Key deer were almost hunted to extinction. By 1950, as few as 25-50 of the animals were left. But the creation of the National Key Deer Refuge on Big Pine Key and protection under the Endangered Species Act have led to a comeback. The most recent population study estimates the herd at 900 to 1,000. “They…

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FAVORite People – Wildlife Biologist Kate Watts

Kate Watts monitors vegetation in the pine rockland ecosystem on Big Pine Key. Watts serves as Lead Wildlife Biologist for the Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges Complex, overseeing biologists, technicians and interns at the refuges in the lower Keys. “Although a scientist by trade, I find that it is extremely important to translate the technical…

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Students Help Preserve Big Pine Key’s Grimal Grove

The Grimal Grove horticultural property at 258 Cunningham Lane was the brainchild of the late Adolf Grimal, an avid tropical fruit tree collector. During his time, Grimal turned the roughly 2-acre site into his own garden oasis. Over time, though, after his passing, the property eventually succumbed to wild overgrowth and hefty code violation fines….

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Your Lower Florida Keys Vacation Bucket List

The Lower Florida Keys have some well-known destinations. Lying between the Middle Florida Keys and Key West, with Big Pine Key’s Key Deer and Bahia Honda State Park’s beaches as well as one of the top diving spots, Looe Key, will keep visitors busy and happy. There are also many historic locations to satisfy any…

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Local Lobster Mobster Continues Violations – Arrested Again

A Summerland Key [Lobster Mobster] fisherman [in the past he has been identified as from Big Pine Key] arrested in October 2014 for lobster fishing with hundreds of illegal traps was arrested again Thursday for lying on a wildlife form about his marine violation history, according to court records. Lobster Mobster – David Lee Boggs,…

Best stops on the Overseas Highway – Big Pine Key

Road trips don’t come more spectacular than the Overseas Highway. Sailing through tropical savanna over the Florida Straits, it links Miami on the mainland with the 180-kilometer-long Florida Keys island chain. Most visitors head straight to Key West, the southernmost city in the continental United States, but if they stopped along the way they’d find secluded…

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4 Florida Keys Plants Closer to Endangered Species

Florida Keys plants move closer to being Endangered Species. In accordance with a landmark settlement agreement with the Center for Biological Diversity, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced that four increasingly rare plants in Florida may qualify for Endangered Species Act protection. The Big Pine partridge pea, wedge spurge, sand flax and Blodgett’s…

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Best of The Florida Keys – Key Largo – Islamorada – Key West

The Chica Travelsita, Travel Blogger and Travel Agent explores the Florida Keys from Key Largo to Key West! She stays at The Casa Morada in Islamorada, explores the waters with Upper Keys Sport Fishing and The Florida Fisherman and experiences delicious food and drinks at Lorelei’s Restaurant and Bar, Bitton Bistro and The Square Grouper….

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Big Pine Key Man Charged With Shooting and Killing Key Deer

BY KEVIN WADLOW A Big Pine Key man confessed to the Friday shooting death of an endangered Key deer, state wildlife officers report. Grant M. Wilson, 33, was arrested Saturday on a felony count of killing a protected species. Officer Jeremy Foell of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission investigated. “Mr. Wilson advised…

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Florida Everglades No. 1 Fishing Destination in the U.S.

Five out of the top 10 fishing destinations are in Florida. Fishing trips and vacations are big business in the U.S. each summer, and this week the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation, and its Take Me Fishing campaign, is unveiling the 2015 Top 100 Family-Friendly Places to Fish and Boat. Florida’s Everglades National Park is…

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Florida Keys Students on the Water With Sharks

By Michael Quirk Key West Citizen Students encountering sharks has been a tagline for cheesy horror flicks over the years. It became a reality recently when Newfound Harbor Marine Institute at Seacamp and Sharks4Kids Inc. hosted six female students from Sugarloaf Middle School for its “Young Women in Marine Science” program. The two-day experience held at…