Saturday, April 1, 2017

wildlife conservation

We're humbled and honored to receive an extraordinary honor from the National Society for the Protection of Endangered Species. Our home, tin box, is now a Certified Jackalope Habitat! Their citation notes, in particular, our "dedication to preserving and maintaining the necessary balance of flora, fauna, and topography to support the life cycle of North America's most elusive mammal species."

While there are a handful of other certified habitats for this rare creature east of the Mississippi River, we are the first to achieve Platinum-level certification. The Society's rating system rewards property owners for installing landscape elements that support the jackalope (Lepus cornutus) throughout its life cycle. Pregnant jackalopes ("jennies") prefer folic acid-rich greens, such as spinach and collards, while juvenile jackalopes ("kits") often gorge themselves on wild berries and carotene-rich root vegetables. Our gardens feature areas dedicated to all of these plant species.

The topography of a jackalope habitat is important, too. This shy creature prefers secluded areas sheltered from predators by fallen logs or naturally occurring warrens. The mountainous landscapes of the American West are more conducive to jackalope life, yet even in South Florida we can support jackalope populations by carefully crafting wildlife habitats using available materials, such as our coral rock boulders and piles of fallen banana leaves.

Jackalope conservation is an urgent concern for environmentalists. These noble creatures were once plentiful in Europe. Albrecht Dürer's famous 1547 painting of a mature buck attests to the extensive range of the Continental Jackalope (or Wolpertinger, which is now believed to comprise two species, based on skeletal evidence), which was common in Ireland, peninsular Italy, and the Black Sea. The last European jackalope is believed to have perished during the 1930s.

Conservation efforts led by organizations like the National Society for the Protection of Endangered Species are vital to restoring the North American jackalope. We are lobbying city and county officials to establish a jackalope corridor in Miami-Dade County. Challenges include urbanization and the introduction of exotic predators, such as Burmese pythons and Mexican chupacabras.

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