Panthers and Orchids

Why would a Florida biologist grow orchids when he’s trying to rescue panthers? Larry Richardson, chief biologist at the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge, explains that South Florida’s orchids love wetlands like panthers do. When the wetlands thrive, so do their plants and animals. Richardson says “it’s not much of a stretch likening panthers to orchids. Both are profoundly affected by the supply, quality and distribution of water. Both thrive in woodlands with minimal human disruption. And both have seen their habitat of hardwood swamps, oak hammocks and pine flatwoods shrink as a result of human encroachment.”

Richardson, the University of Florida, and Illinois College have worked together to collect native orchid seeds. They germinate and raise the plants in greenhouses, and then transplant them into the wild. Besides the Florida Panther Refuge, native orchids have also been returned to nearby Big Cypress National Preserve, Fakahatchee Strand, Picayune Strand, and Everglades National Park.

“There’s only one endangered species list,” Richardson said. “Those most endangered are at the top of the list. As those animals become extinct, everything below them on the list moves up a notch. Man’s move to the top is going to be accelerated over time.”

Explore posts in the same categories: Conservation, In the News, Orchids in the Wild

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5 Comments on “Panthers and Orchids”

  1. T West Says:

    you would think that he’s busy enough in his job saving panthers. but i can see that panthers and orchids are the “glamorous” creatures that we as environmentalists have to use to protect what is left of the original everglades. its much easier to get important support for conservation with cute animals. thanks for the interesting article.

  2. SuperTT Says:

    cool post

  3. Eric831 Says:

    This is different. Good to see this get off the ground.

  4. tgx Says:

    good news! thanks!!

  5. MAS Says:

    I just added your blog site to my blogroll, I pray you would give some thought to doing the same.