Tallahassee, FL (May 2, 2019) – The nonprofit Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida awarded nearly $83,000 to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to support captive breeding of the endangered Florida grasshopper sparrow. This funding follows two previous grants totaling $45,000.
The project will focus on caring for the captive flock at White Oak Conservation. This flock is the key for the species’ survival, thus making their care critical. The Florida grasshopper sparrow is North America’s most endangered bird. Fewer than 80 individuals are left in the wild and there is a high probability that the population will go extinct within 10 years without intervention. The captive breeding program in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and White Oak Conservation is attempting to reverse the population decline and eventually eliminate the need for future captive breeding programs.
Foundation President and CEO Andrew Walker said, “We are committed to ensuring the Florida grasshopper sparrow does not meet the same fate as the dusky seaside sparrow as last-minute efforts to save the bird through captive breeding came too late. Extinction for the Florida grasshopper sparrow would be devastating.”
Grant funding came from the “Conserve Wildlife” specialty license plate fund managed by the Foundation. The Foundation has raised and given away more than $32 million to support conservation, fishing, hunting and outdoor education for children, adolescents and adults. The Foundation recently completed a contest with Ringling College of Art & Design to redesign the plate in the hopes of increasing sales, and thus increasing grant funding.
About the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida
The Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and other public and private partners to conserve Florida’s native animals and plants and the lands and waters they need to survive. Since its founding in 1994, the Foundation has raised and donated more than $32 million to conservation and outdoor recreation and education. More information can be found at wildlifeflorida.org.