Nuclear Plant Helps Save Endangered Florida Crocodiles

December 7, 2011

Biology

Nuclear Plant Helps Save Endangered Florida Crocodiles

Normally we hear about how bad nuclear plants are, but when was the last time you heard a story about how they save animals? One nuclear power plant in Florida is helping animals; namely crocodiles. Canals designed to divert power plant water are giving them a safe habitat and allowing them to thrive. This species once numbered fewer than 300 in the U.S. in the 1970s and at the time it was feared that we might lose them.

The crocodiles’ only habitat in the U.S. is in south Florida, but it has been eroded over time by modern development. So why are they flocking to these canals? It’s simple. The system channels warm water into the canals heating their habitat and making it perfect for nesting.

In 1977, employees found a crocodile nest in one of the plant’s cooling canals. At that time a monitoring program was set up to make sure that the animals did not get hurt. Apparently not a single one has suffered any radiation and as a bonus, this program has helped to monitor their fantastic rebound.

It’s a win/win situation for everyone. The monitoring process consists of capturing them, microchipping them and weighing them. Today there are about 1,500 crocodiles in south Florida, with hundreds living around the plant, some as long as 15 feet and as heavy as a ton.

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