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Baby American crocodiles hatch at Florida power plant

Baby American crocodiles hatch at Florida power plant

Posted: Friday, August 10, 2012 12:00 pm

HOMESTEAD, Florida (AP) — It’s hatchling season for American crocodiles and while the species is imperiled overall, mother and baby crocs are thriving in the swamp surrounding a South Florida nuclear power plant.
During the rainy season that comes at this time of year, young crocodiles hatch, leave their nests and try not to become prey to other crocs before they become full-grown predators. It’s also the time when biologist Mario Aldecoa goes out to catch the hatchlings, mark them for a lifetime of scientific tracking and then release them back into the waters that surround the Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant.
Aldecoa is part of a group hired by the state’s largest public utility, Florida Power and Light, to monitor the hundreds of crocodiles that roam the swamps surrounding the plant. Its cooling canals are prime croc habitat and have been credited with helping the crocodiles’ recovery in Florida over the last few decades.
“That’s where we get the main data,” Aldecoa said of the tracking program. “Because one day or two or three years down the road, we may capture that same individual and we can see how much it’s grown, how far it’s traveled. That helps us get a better picture of survival rates, growth rates and distribution of these animals.” Published in The Messenger 8.10.12

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