Nature croc

Published on December 14th, 2008 | by Alex Felsinger

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Nuclear Plant Credited for Saving Endangered Crocodiles

The National Wildlife Federation has credited the Turkey Point nuclear power plant in Florida for helping save endangered crocodiles by creating a makeshift sanctuary for the reptiles within their 6,800-acre network of canals for the past 30 years.

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In 1985, only 19 crocodiles lived around Turkey Point, but now around 400 live among the canals, which are used to cool to nearby nuclear power plant. The species was changed from endangered to threatened in 2007 by the US Fish & Wildlife Service.

Florida Power & Light, which owns and operates the plant, discovered in 1978 that the crocodiles were using the area as a breeding ground and immediately hired their own marine biologists to study the rare saltwater reptiles.

”This is a good story for a change,’ said FPL’s biologist Joe Wasilewski. “The species has rebounded enough that there’s a chance for future generations to see them.”

FPL partakes in the Florida Everglades Mitigation Bank, a coalition which helps protect and restore 13,500 acres of wetlands. Across the state, the power company maintains 22,000 acres of wildlife preserves, protecting the habitats of 17 endangered species.

So what do you think, do you agree with the National Wildlife Federation and commend FPL’s efforts, or do the potential downsides of nuclear power plants outweigh these benefits?

And call me crazy, but isn’t this how Godzilla happened?

Photo Credit: Lemoncat1 on Flickr under Creative Commons license.




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About the Author

is primarily concerned with animal welfare, wildlife conservation, and environmental justice. As a freelance writer in San Francisco, he leads a deliberately simplistic and thrifty lifestyle, yet still can’t help gawking at the newest green gadgets and zero-emission concept cars.



  • Lowell Hein

    The efforts have been consistent and on-going in the 7 years I have traveled to work at Turkey Point…

    In response to the first commentator, I must say what truly makes this unique is the fact that there are no large nesting populations of crocodiles anywhere else in the U.S.

    It makes for an interesting walk to the parking lot when it’s dark, believe me.

  • PARITA SHAH

    I THINK THE OTHER COUNTRIES WHICH ARE FACING THE CROCODILE EXTINCTION SHOULD TRY TO FOLLOW THIS EXAMPLE AND THEY SHOULD BE ABLE TO IMPROVE THE STATUS OF THE CROCODILES AND IN TURN THE ENDANGERED SPECIES WOULD BE SAVED. IT WOULD ALSO BE IN LINE WITH THE MEA OF CITES.

  • http://www.yahoo.com Bobby B.

    It is not uncommon for species to thrive near industrial cooling water outfalls. Those waters maintain a near constant temperature, which wildlife seem to prefer for hunting and breeding. The fact that the facility in your story is nuclear is the only thing that makes it unique.

    Another example of such a circumstance exists with the Alaskan caribou. Their “endangered” population exploded after the oil pipelines started operating. The pipeline has been credited with providing two benefits. First, the area immediately around the pipeline is warm, which provides the caribou some relief during the harsh winters. Second, the harmonics of the oil flowing through the pipeline keeps the mosquitos at a distance, which slows the spread of disease.

    By the way, it is important to remember that Godzilla was fiction fantasy. Nuclear accidents tend to kill or cripple, not morph creatures into monsters.

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