Sunday, May 2, 2010

Danger! Endangered Species Area

If you've ever traveled to Big Pine Key in Florida, these signs will be familiar. The big yellow warning signs caution you to watch for an endangered species. So once you slow down, what species will you be looking for?

The tiny Key deer, as small as a dog, which is found nowhere else but the Florida Keys. Speeding cars can kill these miniature deer, but so do other things. One of the greatest dangers to these deer are humans--humans who feed them "people food." According to Kenzie, a character in Bonnie Doerr's book, Island Sting, "so many people in cars feed them that they're losing their fear of humans and traffic." So instead of running from cars, they come toward them, hoping to be fed.

To help with the problem, officers have posted signs they hope will prevent people from feeding the deer. Here's an illustration from Doerr's book:

The fine for feeding a deer is $250, but this doesn't always stop people from offering these cute deer snacks as if they were pets. Many of the deer are so used to humans that they'll stick their noses in bag of chips or eat bites of sandwich straight from a person's hand.

Junk food and speeding cars present a major threat to these endangered animals, but even more deadly are poachers. Because they are so small, the deer don't provide much meat. But food isn't the only reason some people slaughter Key deer.

In Island Sting, Angelo and Kenzie team up to stop a vicious criminal from killing the Key deer, but will they survive when the poacher turns from stalking deer to hunting humans?

Get your copy of Island Sting to find out the answer. If you use the secret code for spring specials, you can save 30% off the cost of the book from now until May 31, 2010. See Leap Books online store for more details.

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