SUPERHEROES CONFIDENTIAL CODE NAME: Gator
SECRET IDENTITY: CLASSIFIED
Gator grew up in the swamp and knows its wonders and dangers. He was already defending wildlife habitat by driving away poachers when he was recruited by Manatee to protect the Everglades. His Fauna-suit augments his strength and propels him rapidly through the murky channels to fight invasive species and police the fragile eco-system.
The largest remaining subtropical wilderness in the United States, the Everglades consists of 1.5 million acres of wetlands, including saw grass marshes, mangrove forests and hardwood hammocks. It used to be twice as big, running all the way from Florida Bay to Lake Okeechobee, but it was drained so that South Florida could be developed and populated.
Gator fights to preserve what is left, because it can’t be replaced once lost. The Everglades are home to numerous threatened and endangered species, including the American alligator, American crocodile, Florida panther, sea turtles, manatees and many birds like the wood stork, Everglades snail kite and our national mascot, the bald eagle. They have to share their home with species introduced by foolish people, including giant Burmese pythons and Nile monitors.
Threatened and endangered plants include thatch palms and tree cactus. It’s all precious to Gator.
“You can’t visit here without realizing the value of this land,” Gator says, “so get to the Glades and get real about conservation!”
Gator’s secret origin story will be revealed in an upcoming issue of the Florida Five.