American crocodiles thriving near nuclear power plant in South Florida

by

comment
VIA AP/WILFREDO LEE
  • via AP/Wilfredo Lee
American crocodiles, once headed toward extinction, are now thriving in the canals surrounding Florida Power & Light's Turkey Point nuclear plant in South Florida.

The canals, which stretch 168 miles, are home to 25 percent of the American crocodile population. The team of specialists from FPL that monitor and protect this group of several hundred crocodiles is credited for moving the classification of crocodiles on the Endangered Species Act from "endangered" to "threatened" in 2007.



The FPL team creates habitats for the crocodiles to nest. Once the baby crocodiles are hatched and left by their mothers, the team measures them, tags them and relocates them to increase their survival rates.

Only a small fraction of hatchlings survive to be adults because they are at the bottom of the food chain, FPL biologist and crocodile specialist Michael Lloret told the Associated Press. Lloret said the hatchlings have a fighting chance at Turkey Point, where they are away from humans who would hunt them out of greed or fear.



Only one crocodile attack has ever been recorded in America. In 2014, a couple survived after being bitten while swimming in a South Florida canal.

“American crocodiles have a bad reputation when they are just trying to survive,” Lloret said. “They are shy and want nothing to do with us. Humans are too big to be on their menu.”

Get our top picks for the best events in Orlando every Thursday morning. Sign up for our weekly Events newsletter.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at feedback@orlandoweekly.com.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.