Read the full post from the National Wildlife Federation.
As every Gulf Coast resident knows, hurricanes are natural events. In Florida, we joke that there really are only two seasons – tourist season and hurricane season. Native wildlife species are adapted to survive and recover from these storms. The problem now is that humans have not only altered the natural landscape – putting both people and wildlife at greater risk from these storms – but have also altered the climate in ways that make these storms more severe.
Hurricane Irma was the strongest Atlantic hurricane on record and maintained winds of 185 mph for longer than any tropical cyclone in the world. This extreme storm ripped across the Caribbean and struck the Florida Keys as a Category 4 hurricane, eventually affecting nearly the entire state. As my hometown of Naples, and the rest of Florida begins to recover, the fate of many of the state’s unique wildlife species and native habitats remain unknown.