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Friends of Wildlife publish new Cape map and guide

By Staff | Jan 28, 2011

The Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife has published a new map that indicates where wildlife can be found in Cape Coral. It’s free of charge for those who wish to pick one up.
Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife member Cheryl Anderson said “The Nature of Cape Coral” map was originally printed in 2006, but due to its popularity they were handed out very quickly. The second map was paid for by LCEC.
She explained that the map has been published to provide individuals with the opportunity to do their own self-guided tours to spot wildlife.
“It’s about boosting eco-tourism in Cape Coral,” Anderson said about the map, adding that it is about showing “people that there is a lot of wildlife to see here and it is important and people care about it.”
Anderson explained that she went around to all the parks to make sure the animals that are listed on the map are still there, along with identifying where they can be seen.
The map indicates where the bald eagles, burrowing owls, manatees, scrub jays, butterflies and many other animals live.
“People care that we have eagles here,” she said. “That matters to a lot of people.”
The animals can be viewed at nine locations, which include the Rotary Park Environment Center, Cape Coral Public Library, Sirenia Vista Park, Strausser BMX Sports Complex, Saratoga Lake Park, Four MIle Cove Ecological Preserve, Yacht Club Park, Pelican Sports Complex and Seahawk Park.
“A lot of people come from all over the world to see what we have in Cape Coral,” Anderson said.
In conjunction with the map and sponsorship from the Cape Coral City Council, the Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife is also holding bus tours to point out where the wildlife is located, along with information about the specific animals.
Carmel Murphy, who has been visiting Florida for more than 30 years from Ireland, said she heard about the first Cape Coral Eco Tour at Rotary Park when she first arrived in Cape Coral.
“I guess the most brilliant part of the tour for me was the eagles nesting at the BMX park,” she said. “I found it overwhelming that you have eagles nesting in a built up area.”
Murphy’s first experience of seeing a bald eagle happened in Connemara, which is a remote area of mountains and lakes in Ireland.
“One day, I looked out of my kitchen window and saw a shadow of what I thought was a small plane, so I ran outside to look,” she said. “I was thrilled to see my first-ever eagle, which soared away over the Maamturk mountains.”
Unfortunately years passed without seeing another bald eagle due to Ireland losing all of its eagles. Murphy explained that several pairs of eagles were imported from Norway in the past decade and introduced to the western seaboard.
“So imagine my pleasure in seeing my second eagle at the BMX park, in an area in the middle of a city,” she said. “It’s simply wonderful.”
Murphy went on to say that she has been pleasantly surprised by the amount of wildlife that still calls Cape Coral their home.
“Seeing the abundance of wildlife in Cape Coral has really surprised me and I’ve been impressed by the many people I’ve met who are concerned that Cape Coral doesn’t sit back on its laurels, but continues to improve the situation for both the wildlife and for the citizens of Cape Coral,” she said.
The second Nature of Cape Coral Bus Tour will be held on Feb. 12 from 8 a.m. until noon. The tour is $15 for residents and $23 for non-residents.
Anderson said they already have eight people signed up for the February bus tour. The air-conditioned bus can hold up to 18 people.
“If people call and we have the trips filled up we can do another tour,” she said.
Anderson also conducts free Rotary Park Butterfly House Tours every Monday at 10:30 a.m. at Rotary Park. She said she had nine people participate in the tour on Monday.
Rotary Park is at 5505 Rose Garden Road. To register for the bus tour call (239) 549-4606.