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One of the things I love about living and working in Southwest Florida is that no matter where I am, if I look up and pay attention, I’m surrounded by wildlife.
From the ibis and egret overhead, to the teeny geckos at my feet or the bright green anole lizard who stares me down outside my office window—well, our animals are everywhere.
For the most part, that’s a good thing.
But when it’s a problem—when an animal gets caught where it shouldn’t be, or when an invasive animal gets out of control, that’s when it’s time to call my next guest.
He’s Butch Smith, and he’s the founder of Southern Trappers Nuisance Wildlife Removal, based right here in Bonita Springs.
I met Butch through a friend whose community hired Southern Trappers specifically to handle the cane toad infestation we’ve all been hearing so much about in the past few years.
And while at one time, his business was more like an advanced version of pest control, in recent years, the work as become a critical part of helping us managing our environment and protect the wildlife populations that are getting overtaken by species such as the cane toads, iguana and pythons.
One of the things that struck me after talking to Butch was how hard it must have been to start a business that most people didn’t know they needed. It reminded me of the importance of two things:
- Taking action when you have an idea, and then
- Building great relationships for referrals.
And now, he’s in the right place at the right time, ready to be of even greater service as the cane toad and other invasive animal problem continues to explode.
After the interview, we chatted more about some of the opportunities that are currently on the table for his team to work more closely and consistently inside some of our major communities in the area.
Part of this work is also tracking the data on what animals are removed, and over time, what animals are coming back in greater force now that their predators are gone.
Butch works closely with the biologists Florida Fish & Wildlife, but I could see one of these Bonita communities becoming a great case study and that research helping communities all over the state.
With as much focus as we’ve had on environmental issues concerning our water, it makes sense that we’d also consider wildlife, too.
No matter whether you’re an animal lover or not, I think you’ll learn a lot from this conversation with Butch.
- Butch Smith, Southern Trappers Wildlife Nuisance Removal, 239.992.8966
- Visit their website here (with more detail on many different animals and their habits)
- Find them on Facebook here.
- Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission
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