The restoration of the Everglades is imperative for the survival of the alligators that inhabit the swamp. Researchers have observed that the reptiles have become scrawny and have started to grow slower than before. This is turn leads to less reproducing and early deaths, and thus a solution must be found for the alligators of the Everglades.
National Wildlife Refuge Arthur R. Marshall Laxahatchee wildlife biologist Laura Brandt has stated they started getting worried when they saw more and more or the reptiles only skin and bones. The Everglades are the home for dozens of endangered and threatened animals, but also an important water source for Florida. The alligators themselves are indispensable to the environment because they are the top predators in the area, but also ecosystem engineers. If they go sick, so does the rest of the swamp.
The Everglades were of course, changed by humans who disrupted the food supply of the animals and changed the water’s flow. University of Florida wildlife ecology professor Frank Mazzotti believes that the food chain in the Everglades is broken. Alligators are getting thinner because we humans have disrupted the patterns responsible for concentrating and producing food.
The research on the Everglades is currently conducted by Brandt and Mazzotti, along with another thirteen federal and state researchers part of the same team. Furthermore, it is just one part of the largest environmental restoration of the world that costs about $17 billion.
The researchers have studied the alligators and the progress of the restoration for more than ten years. As the whole plan for the restoration will be halfway through, they believe that the watershed is still in need of help. Mazzotti has previously stated that alligators can soon lose all their fat and thus the tailbone will just have skin hanging around with no muscles to sustain it.
The watershed of the Everglades originally covered all southern Florida, but today it has only half of that significant dimension. The region is currently sustained by a complex system of pump stations, dams, water control points and canals.
The alligators are affected because of the draining of the Everglades that disrupts the hydrology they depend on. The restoration of the Everglades has the purpose of establishing a natural flow once more.
Image Source: Travelers Concierge