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FLORIDA | 'Wild' wildlife stories of the week

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Posted at 5:29 PM, Sep 14, 2023

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — We know we live in paradise, and with that comes our amazing wildlife. Fox 4 Meteorologist Andrew Shipley is following several wildlife stories across the state and the country.

FPL tracking 500 crocodile hatchlings near Miami energy center

Last month, crocodile hatching season ended in the state of Florida. And for Florida Power and Light’s Turkey Point Clean Energy Center, south of Miami, 500 hatchlings from 25 nests were found with the cooling canals.

Turkey Point is home to an increasing number of American Crocodiles within its canal system, which consists of 168 miles of canal and provide a great habitat to breed, nest, forage away from disturbances and threats.

The American Crocodile, once endangered, is still federally listed as threatened, with only about 20,000 crocs estimated in the wild. FPL biologists have been tracking crocodiles for the last 45 years.

Large alligator takes a swim with Texas Girl Scouts troop

A 14-foot alligator is the center of a viral video out of Texas. The gator swam within a designated swimming area at Huntsville State Park, just minutes after a Girl Scouts troop jumped in. Commotion filled the swimming area, that's when troop leader Nichole Glenn got between the gator and her troop.

"I always say that I love them to death," said Glenn. “I always say I would do anything for them. Now, I definitely know I would do anything for them."

Luckily, none of the Girl Scouts were injured. After the incident, the swimming area was closed for the rest of the day.

Hurricane Idalia destroys 62 sea turtle nests in SWFL

We have seen a record number of sea turtle nests in Florida this past summer. Unfortunately, 62 nests here in Southwest Florida were lost to Hurricane Idalia, according to the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation.

SCCF has found 27 nests still intact, with one nest even hatching the day after the storm.

SCCF says storms often affect incubating nesting through tidal inundation as well as erosion or accretion of sand.

Research looking into secret lives of dolphins being conducted in Sarasota Bay

One of the longest running dolphin research programs in the world is being done in Sarasota Bay. Researchers with Chicago Zoological Society are studying the secret lives of bottlenose dolphins. Dr. Randall Wells, the director of the dolphin research program, says they look at even the smallest details

“Who they're related to how old they are, what sex they are, who they spend their time with, or who they should be spending your time with, who's had a calf, what status, what the status of that calf might be? And what kind of activity they're engaged in,” said Dr. Wells.

Dr. Wells says 25% of all dolphin deaths are caused by humans. The main culprit being recreational fishing gear.