Florida Grasshopper Sparrow by KenG ()
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I’m often asked why I created so many 3D birds, after all, isn’t one sparrow enough? This image is a perfect reason why. If it wasn’t for me or one of my dedicated Remixers posting art featuring this sparrow, who would know that within two short years, the only place you’ll be able to see it is through a photo or render, because at its current rate of decline it will be extinct. Part of my mission is to introduce people to birds – not just the flashy or popular ones—but ones that really need us to care about them.
So let me introduce the Florida Grasshopper Sparrow which now is one of the most endangered songbird in the United States. There are probably fewer than 200 Florida grasshopper sparrows left, and as of this writing they’re restricted to the Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park and the nearby Three Lakes Wildlife Management Area. The population at Avon Park Air Force Range, where researchers had counted 130 singing males 14 years ago, apparently winked out in 2012.
Most of this remnant habitat has been degraded by fire suppression and by aliens such as feral hogs and fire ants. But the Florida DEP, with financial help from the Fish and Wildlife Service, is restoring it with prescribed burns and removal of the invaders. And the service is putting together a 150,000-acre national wildlife refuge that will target the Florida grasshopper sparrow as a major priority. Finally, the Florida Grasshopper Sparrow Working Group—state and federal managers and biologists who advise the Fish and Wildlife Service—has convinced the agency to authorize captive breeding. Unfortunately, US Government budget cuts generally falls hardest on environmental programs.
All this, however, may not be enough. If we lose the Florida Grasshopper Sparrow, will Americans for the most part notice or care? The answer, alas, is no. Most everyone who reads my posts cares deeply. We know that species and subspecies matter, but we have trouble putting that knowledge into words for folks like, say, Manuel Lujan, who in 1990, in his capacity as Secretary of the Interior, indignantly inquired: “Do we have to save every subspecies?”
Rendered in Poser 2012 without post. Models: Nerd’s Swamp and my Perching Places and Songbird ReMix Threatened, Endangered, Extinct 1