Tag Archives: thurlow-lippisch

Wrapping up 2022-St Lucie River Update

Tomorrow will be December 31, 2022. Today I share the most recent aerial photographs of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon and even one around Lake Okeechobee.

It was a very cold Christmas season. According to the Stuart News, Stuart logged in at 39 degrees on Christmas Day! The cold system hovered for a few days causing intermittent rain and cloud coverage. These photos taken a few days later after it warmed up -on an incoming tide- reveal that since our last photo session, it appears the river is clearing up thankfully with no discharges from Lake Okeechobee in 2022.

AERIALS

-December 28, 2022 at 8:45am, west of Stuart, east side of Lake Okeechobee, near Barley Barber Swamp and FPL cooling reservoir, -sugarcane burning or a controlled burn??? Photographs taken by Scott Kuhns from SuperCub.

-December 29, 2022 around 2:30 pm, St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon around St Lucie Inlet, Sewall’s Point, Sailfish Flats, wide view taken over Palm City. Aerials by Ed Lippisch from Vans RV. I am including all photos although some are very similar as each one shows something a little different. Remember you can click on photo to enlarge ūüôā

Wishing everyone a very happy and safe New YearEve and let’s continue to work together for a great 2023 for the St Lucie River! 

The Once Florida Black Wolf of the Indian River Lagoon

The black wolf once roamed the shores and surrounding lands of the Indian River Lagoon, becoming extinct in 1883. (Photo public files.)
The Florida wolf or black wolf once roamed the shores and surrounding lands of the Indian River Lagoon and the state of Florida, becoming extinct in 1908. (A photo of a modern, larger, Ontario black wolf,  public files.)

A wolf of the Indian River Lagoon? You’re kidding?

Not too long ago, before 1908, a black wolf known as the “Florida black wolf” was part of the ecosystem of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon. One of the best local accounts of this black wolf, can still be found in an historical document ¬†written by a member of the Seminole War party, of Col. Benjamin Pierce, for whom Ft Pierce is named.

Col. Pierce was fighting the Indians in the 1837 Seminole War. According to the Sebastian River Area Historical Society, Col. Pierce and his troops sailed down the Indian River Lagoon on December 31st “in boats filled with baggage, men, and provisions.” Surgeon Mott, of his party, wrote of the journey:

“Nothing occurred to disturb the quiet of the night, except the wolves in the neighboring forest responding with howls as they threatened one another…” (Source, Tales of Sebastian, 1990 compiled by the Sebastian¬†Historical¬†Society.)

Paining by I.Wesp of Benjamin Pierce and troops sailing down the IRL- (Tales of Sebastian, 1990.)
Paining by I. Wesp of Benjamin Pierce and Seminole War troops sailing down the IRL, 1837. (Tales of Sebastian, 1990.)

This “black wolf subspecies” became extinct in 1908, mostly due to hunting as homesteaders pushed the wolf out of its habitat. John James Audubon’s drawing is about all we have left. ¬†It is documented that there was also a more reddish colored “red wolf” that coexisted with the black wolf simultaneously and it went extinct a bit later, in 1921.

These black wolves and red wolves were a related subspecies of the more well known American grey wolf (Canis lupus) and related to today’s Gregory’s Wolf ¬†or Red Wolf that has been recently been reintroduced in North Carolina.

Gregory's Wolf or Red Wolf has been reintroducing into North Carolina and surrounding areas.
Gregory’s Wolf or Red Wolf has been reintroducing into North Carolina and surrounding areas. (Photo public)

For many years, there were intellectual arguments in the scientific community about whether the the black and red Florida wolves were true “wolves” or more closely genetically related to the coyote. Although after years of heated discussion, it was first determined that the black and red wolves were a type of coyote, this was contested and overturned by the¬†¬†International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature in 1957.

Yes, although they had adapted and taken on a smaller frame than their grey wolf relatives, Florida’s ¬†black and red canines were “wolves.”¬†

Scientific drawing, 1800s, Florida Black Wolf. I don't quite get the buffalo in the background! But you get the idea!:) (Wikipedia)
Scientific drawing, 1800s, Florida Black Wolf. (Wikipedia)

Hmmm?

The state of Florida still has bears and panthers. Wouldn’t it be amazing ¬†if we still had wolves!

There may always be that element of fear with wolves but there must also be respect, as the wolf is second only to humans in adapting to a changing planet, and of course the extinct black wolf, and the modern grey wolf, are closely related to our very best friends, domesticated dogs.

Just incredible! ¬†The once wild and beautiful creatures of the Indian River Lagoon…..

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Florida Black Wolf: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida_Black_Wolf)

US Fish and Wildlife Commission/Grey Wolf: (http://www.fws.gov/midwest/wolf/aboutwolves/biologue.htm) 

Wolf facts: (http://www.defenders.org/gray-wolf/basic-facts)