Seaside Sparrow U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Office and
U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Everglades National Park

Balancing on the Brink:
The Everglades and the Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow

Sparrow experts
are predicting
extinction in a
few decades if
current trends
continue.
Everglades National Park is considered the most threatened park in the United States. Drainage of wetlands for urban and agricultural development, disruptions of natural overland water flow, over-hunting, and habitat losses have pushed fourteen species in Everglades National Park onto the federal list of threatened and endangered species. One of these species, the Cape Sable seaside sparrow, is an indicator of the vitality of the ecosystems of Everglades National Park and the Big Cypress National Preserve. The Cape Sable seaside sparrow is dangerously close to extinction. Placed on the first federal list of endangered species in 1967, sparrow numbers continue to decline. Most alarming is the recent precipitous drop in their numbers and the rising risk of extinction. The most recent data indicate that Cape Sable seaside sparrows have declined by as much as 40% range-wide since 1981. Sparrow experts are predicting extinction in a few decades if current trends continue. This report, prepared jointly by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service, describes the decline of the Cape Sable seaside sparrow, the causes, emergency actions needed to stave off extinction, and long-term actions required to assure its survival.