The Florida Keys is full of exceptional and irreplaceable ecological riches. The United States and the Florida Keys population have long been aware of the importance of conservation and are actively involved in ensuring that the ecology and beauty of these islands are kept protected for years to come. Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary The Florida Keys holds the key to a unique national treasure - North America's only living coral barrier reef and the third longest barrier reef in the world.
The late Jack Watson, shown here in an undated photo, was the first refuge manager of the National Key Deer Refuge and a passionate protector of the endangered deer.
During his year tenure as refuge manager, Jack Watson spread the word that he was a no-nonsense guy who would do whatever it took to protect the Key deer. His tough approach helped save the entire species from extinction. For example, Kip recalled a time when his father discovered people were hunting deer on Little Pine Island, which was reachable only by boat.
A big-eyed Key deer peers through brush in the refuge. Photo courtesy of the U. The refuge measures about 9, acres, with lands on Big Pine Key and other islands of the Lower Keys, plus backcountry land and water areas. An amazingly diverse environment, it includes mangrove forests, freshwater and salt marsh wetlands, pine rockland forests and tropical hardwood hammocks.
Jack Watson is memorialized on Big Pine Key by a street named in his honor. Females are a little smaller, averaging 60 to 70 pounds full-grown.
Fish and Wildlife Service employee at the refuge. Although Florida outlawed hunting Key deer inpoaching continued. Inwhen the refuge became a reality and Jack Watson became its manager, the deer got the champion they so desperately needed. A Key deer doe, one of a thriving herd that owes its existence in part to Jack Watson, licks her chops after grazing on a plant.
Today, more than 90, people visit the refuge each year, exploring popular areas including a wildlife-rich freshwater quarry and a nature trail named for Jack Watson, who retired in and died in late The Key deer is a federally designated endangered species only found in the Florida Keys.
This animal is the smallest subspecies of white-tailed deer, with males reaching around a mere 30 inches. Local companion animals also show signs of infection, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services noted in a press release on October 3.
Key Deer National Wildlife Refuge [ Fig. 7 ] A developed trail through pine rockland forest in the lower Keys, and a chance to see one of nature's wonders, the tiny Key deer, are the reasons most visitors head for the Key Deer National Wildlife Refuge.
Sep 10, · "Historically in the Florida Keys, this is going to rank right up there in the top three, the most damaging" storms, he said, including Hurricane Donna in .
Unsurprisingly, as Hurricane Irma bore down on and then smashed into the lower keys, where most of the animals live, Key deer enthusiasts were seriously worried. The National Key Deer Refuge was set up in in order to protect the Key deer and other wildlife in the Florida Keys.
This refuge is located on acres in the Florida Lower Keys.
There are some 23 endangered plants and animals in the refuge.