For a decade now my family has run a ranch on the northern tip of the Everglades. This ranch provides a home for rescue horses, dogs and the odd cat or two. We are stewards of the land, care takers of the endangered Cypress. The ranch is a habitat provider for Snail Kites, Alligators and a pathway between protected park lands for the Florida Panther. We plant native species to provide cover and food for the wildlife and eliminate invasive one. Sometimes it feels like a tropical Ponderosa, the Cartwright’s never had to deal with Hurricanes.
When you think of The Everglades you think of Alligators. Every Park is like that. The Alligator is part ambassador part indicator species. I’ve had some interesting encounters with Alligator’s. None threatening, basically animals are going about their day it’s up to the park visitors not to interfere. There is no mistaking the cat like hiss of an Alligator that has had enough. All wildlife require a personal space boundary, it’s a matter of respect and Federal Law.
The health of the park it’s self can be measured in the animals that call it home. Some of the challenges facing the ancient animal are easy to see, like enough water and habitat. Things like pesticides are invisible but deadly. The python has invaded the Everglades and found a habitat to thrive and multiply in. They have been known to attack Alligators. Bold.
For the Nature Photographer Alligators make fine subjects. They hunt from stealth so stillness is one of their hallmarks. This large adult was perfectly happy to sun himself as I shot with my 300mm.