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Wildlife 2060 - Human and Wildlife Interactions

Human and wildlife interactions: Too close for comfort?

Alligator on the grass and dried leaves

Florida's wildlife and human populations are encountering one another more often than ever.

You might even say we're on a collision course - with alligators, black bears, sandhill cranes, Florida panthers, raccoons and many others. We are moving into their territories and taking over the places they used to live - their habitats, their homes. The problem is made worse by unplanned development that lacks rural buffers between wildlife-rich areas and suburban homes.

Where do the wildlife go when we move in?  Sometimes they try to continue to share back yards and subdivisions that have replaced their forest and wetland homes. Sandhill cranes, alligators and other species, such as raccoons, opossums and deer can adapt to and even thrive very close to our residences - if we allow them.

Many Floridians, especially new residents, are inexperienced with wild animal neighbors or are scared by their presence. Their concerns include property damage, the possibility of disease or predation on pets or livestock. Complaints about alligators and bears, in particular, are rising fast. In response, FWC biologists and partners across the state are helping communities develop creative solutions to wildlife/people conflicts.

The Florida 2060 report projects that within the next 50 years, Florida's human population will more than double. Without any changes in our land-use policies, the additional acreage converted to urban use also will more than double. This means not only loss of habitat and wildlife, but more encounters with wildlife that we don't choose in this increasingly crowded world. How will we balance our love of Florida's diverse wildlife and their need for habitat?