Defenders in the Southeast
Florida Panther,  © SuperStock

Our Top Priorities

The southeast is home to an incredible array of life. Hundreds of species live there that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. And the variety of landscapes and habitats – from Florida’s lagoons to North Carolina’s forests – makes for an equally awe-inspiring variety of wildlife. 

Defenders’ work in the southeast focuses on four landscapes: the Greater Everglades, the Florida Panhandle, the Carolina Coast, and the Southern Appalachians.

Our dedicated staff in Florida works to protect species from land, sky, and sea, including the Florida panther, manatee, gopher tortoise, sea turtles, Florida scrub jay, indigo snake and more. They also focus on protecting landscapes, connecting wildlife corridors across the state to better protect habitat and help endangered species recover.

On the Carolina Coast, most of our work to date has centered on legal advocacy to protect wild places and imperiled species. The new Southeast office will be taking this advocacy to the next level with resources on the ground to work with agencies, landowners, and decision makers to protect imperiled wildlife. One of our primary species for this area is the critically endangered red wolf. We are redoubling our efforts and will be leading the charge to bring the wolf back from the brink of extinction and hold the US. Fish and Wildlife Service accountable for its recovery.

The Southern Appalachians represent the largest and perhaps the most biodiverse area of our work.  This rich and wild place is home to countless species, many of which are quite rare, and it is the global epicenter for salamander diversity. It also boasts an impressive amount of public land.  We are collaborating with agency officials to ensure that new plans for our national forests in this region are made with wildlife in mind, preserving vital habitat for species that need it. The Southern Appalachians is also home to countless rivers and streams, harboring a stunning array of freshwater species, including endangered fish and mussels. We’re working to ensure that the water these species rely on is kept clean and healthy, not threatened by dams and poor land use. Our work will ensure a lasting future for these species and all of the native plants and animals that depend on these vital habitats.



Contact the Florida Office

3637 Fourth St. North, Suite 230
St. Petersburg, FL 33704
Phone: (727) 823-3888
Fax: (727) 823-3873

More on Defenders in the Southeast: Defenders in Action: Statewide Habitat Conservation »

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The latest articles about wildlife issues that may be of interest to those in the press.
Florida Panhandle (Apalachicola National Forest), © Julie Tew
Fact Sheet
The Florida Panhandle is one of the most biologically diverse regions of the world. From dense pine forests, seepage streams and major rivers, to coastal marshes and pristine beaches, it is home to a wide array of key and endangered species, including gopher tortoises, sea turtles, manatees, red-cockaded woodpeckers, eastern indigo snakes, migratory birds and numerous species of fresh water mussels.
Manatees, © Jan Reyniers
Learn More
As manatees search for the warm-water shelters once common along the Florida coast, we take this time to raise public awareness of the threats to these beloved but endangered sea creatures.