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Bear Essentials

A male black bear—his breath creating a vapor cloud in the cool night air—is caught by a motion-sensitive camera in Highlands County, Florida.

Carlton Ward Jr.

A raccoon moves through the night along the Lake Wales Ridge on the Archbold Biological Station, located a few miles north of the camera at the Hendrie Ranch. Captured with a motion-sensitive camera at the Station.

Carlton Ward Jr.

A curious black bear cub triggers a motion-sensitive camera on a private ranch in Highlands County, Florida.

Carlton Ward Jr.

A juvenile coyote stares into the trail camera at Archbold Biological Station.

Carlton Ward Jr.

A bobcat moves through the twilight is caught by a trail camera. Bobcats are relatively abundant on Florida cattle ranches.

Carlton Ward Jr.

Wild hogs, often called razorbacks from the shape of the hair on the necks of the boars, are common throughout Florida's agricultural and natural lands. Spanish explorers introduced them to the state 500 years ago. Because of their prolific breeding and destructive foraging in the dirt, hogs are harmful to Florida ecosystems. Land managers expend great energy hunting and trapping them to mitigate damage. These were caught by a motion-sensitive camera.

Carlton Ward Jr.

A bear cub triggers a motion-sensitive camera as it crosses in front of saw palmettos whose berries are important to its diet. Highlands County, Florida ranches provide excellent habitat for a population of black bears which survive there almost entirely on private land, a component of the Florida Wildlife Corridor opportunity area.

Carlton Ward Jr.

A mature male panther, estimated to be four years old, crosses the Hendrie Ranch, located south of Lake Placid in Highlands County, along the eastern slope of the Lake Wales Ridge. With high sand scrub, oak hammocks, pine flatwoods, rare cutthroat grass seepage slopes, and one of the largest remaining bay forests in the state, the Hendrie family’s stewardship protects some of the highest quality natural habitat in Florida. Captured with a motion-sensitive camera at the Hendrie Ranch.

Carlton Ward Jr.

The Hendrie Ranch provides a home for commercial cattle as well as wildlife. Some of the best wildlife habitat in the country exists on Florida cattle ranches. Grazing densities average one cow to five acres and are compatible with the native ecosystems. Cattle first arrived in Florida from Spain in 1521, with the first cattle and horses in North America and were living wild in the woods when colonists arrived in the 1800s. The original 'Cracker' cattle still exist; larger English and Asian breeds such as Hereford, Angus, and Brahma are more common. This cow appears, captured with a motion-sensitive camera, appears to be a Braford, which is a cross between Brahma and Hereford. 

Carlton Ward Jr.

A white-tailed deer displays late spring velvet on its antlers as it's caught by a trail camera. Habitat for game species is one incentive to manage wilderness on private lands, offering benefits to non-game species as well.

Carlton Ward Jr.

Carlton Ward Jr. is an environmental photojournalist from Clearwater, Florida. His passion for nature was born from the Florida landscape, where eight generations of family history have anchored his perspective. Through his photographs, he aims to promote conservation of natural environments and cultural legacies. For his first book, The Edge of Africa, Carlton spent eight months in the tropical rain forests of Gabon, documenting the unseen wonders of life at the edge of the African continent. In 2004, Carlton founded the Legacy Institute for Nature & Culture (LINC), a non-profit organization for conservation communications. Carlton is also a founding member of the International League of Conservation Photographers (ILCP) and wrote Conservation Photography, the first thesis on the emerging field. His 2009 Book, Florida Cowboys, won a silver medal in the Florida Book Awards and Popular Photography Magazine featured him as one of three photographers working to save vanishing America. Working with a team of conservationists, Carlton founded the Florida Wildlife Corridor initiative on Earth Day 2010 with the intention of connecting landscapes between the Everglades and Georgia. With a goal to cover 1000 miles in 100 days, The Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition is set to begin on January 17, 2012. (All photos courtesy of Ward. For more information, visit: carltonward.com and floridawildlifecorridor.org.)

Carlton Ward Jr.

Bear Essentials

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