For a long time, it was believed that flamingos were not native to Florida as the birds were considered a visitor to the Sunshine State that didn't have a natural historical presence here. In 2018, Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission updated the flamingo's status to native after historical records proved that large flocks of flamingos once roamed in far southern Florida.
Flamingos were wiped out by hunting in the late 1800s, and most of those found in Florida today are captive. The Flamingo Working Group, a conservation group that tracks local Flamingo sightings reported several sightings in the wild this year. Valerie Preziosi, a conservationist and photographer snapped photos of a wild flamingo wading in pristine water in January this year. Before that, she spotted six flamingos in July of 2020.
Dr. Steven Whitfield, a conservation biologist at Zoo Miami said:
A lot of people thought flamingos were non-native because the history was just so unclear. There definitely were flamingos in Florida in the 1800s, and unfortunately people hunted the populations here to extinction It looks like they are making a comeback in the wild , and that’s really encouraging. I think everyone would like to see them return it’s just a question of how we do that.
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