Letter | Florida Sandhill Cranes need your protection

October 4, 2013 

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Sandhill cranes silhouetted against a blue sky on the University Park golf course. Speeders are hitting sandhill cranes, a threatened bird species in Florida, on area roads. About eight have been hit in the past month.GRANT JEFFERIES/Bradenton Herald

GJEFFERIES@BRADENTON.COM Buy Photo

Thank you for your article (Oct. 1) regarding Sandhill Cranes and the damage that is done to their population by motor vehicles. This problem exists in many areas of the state, and driver awareness is crucial to solving the problem.

Florida Sandhill Crane populations have declined by 37.5 percent since the 1990s. They have a high rate of nesting failure as well. For these reasons, Florida Sandhill Cranes easily qualify as a threatened species. Management of the species in the coming years will be critical to increase their populations by 10 percent and to ensure their safety in perpetuity.

People can help Florida Sandhill Cranes by not feeding them. It is important that the cranes utilize natural areas away from cars and power lines rather than be lured in for a not-so nutritious meal. Avoiding pesticides will also help the crane population as the cranes themselves provide a natural pest control service.

The cranes also are found on golf courses with broken legs. It is important that golfers avoid driving their balls right at the cranes to get them out of the way. When done purposefully, this is an illegal act that should be immediately reported to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at 888-404-3922.

Florida Sandhill Cranes are also frequently shot. It's so important that we use our brains before our brawn. When will people learn?

Barbara Walker

Stakeholder, Florida Sandhill Crane Management Plan

Clearwater

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