Friday and Saturday, February 26 & 27, 1999, The Florida Keys - We humans are one of the hardiest species on earth. We have the power to render extinct most any species we desire, and apparently, the will to do it. With literally thousands of species of animals and insects on this planet, below its seas, and above its skies, we watch as dozens of them disappear every year. We watch as our very means of living destroys those around us.
The Florida Keys are a particularly delicate ecosystem, and, with an increasing rate of human intrusion, they are constantly in trouble. Isolated for millions of years, the islands, which extend over 100 miles from Biscayne Bay, were only recently connected with bridges, beginning the war of this world. You will find a rich variety of land animals, fish, reptiles, birds and insects - all a part of a delicate balance. Move in thousands of people - and millions of tourists each year - and you more than tip the scales, you nearly knock them clean over.
Throughout the keys are people who have dedicated themselves to trying to keep a balance, so that the millions of animals can live among the people, and so people can benefit from the animals. During my trip through the keys, I learned of dozens of these wonderful people, and have selected a few of them to profile here. These are not people who exploit animals for the tourist trade, but who have heard a cry for help and have answered that call with passion.
Merely because we are on the top of the food chain, doesn't mean we can conquer it. Every link in the chain has a purpose and is a vital part of the rest of life on earth. These three fine people, and thousands like them across America, are ensuring that, for generations, our planet will be full of life.
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