Craig Pittman, Times Staff

Craig Pittman

Times Staff

I’m a native Floridian whose family arrived here in 1850. I graduated from Troy State University in Alabama, where my muckraking for the student paper prompted an agitated dean to label me “the most destructive force on campus.” Since then I’ve covered a variety of beats and quite a few natural disasters, including hurricanes, wildfires and the Florida Legislature. Stories I have written on environmental issues have won national awards, and "The Daily Show" once called me a "nerd" about Florida history. I’ve written four books. The most recent one,Oh, Florida! How America's Weirdest State Influences the Rest of the Country, is a New York Times bestseller and won a Florida Book Awards gold medal in 2017.

Trump wetlands rule rollback makes about 6 million acres in Florida unprotected

The Lake Louisa-Green Swamp Wetland Mitigation area near Orlando is part of Florida's 12 million acres of wetlands. [Times files]
The EPA's own figures show the rolback of Obama-era regulations will leave 51 percent of the nation's wetlands unprotected. Florida has 12 million acres of wetlands, more than all but one other state

Manatee experts question treatments by ZooTampa vet, say he based decisions on opinion and not science

Ray Ball, the ZooTampa veterinarian under investigation for medical malpractice that may have killed manatees, did not have federal permission to conduct experimental treatments of injured marine mammals, according to a spokeswoman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife. [ZooTampa]
Zoo officials quoted from the experts' review in a letter to federal officials, but refused to release the full report Tuesday.

ZooTampa report exonerates vet — but he's still not allowed to treat manatees

Dr. Ray Ball, senior veterinarian at ZooTampa, formerly the Lowry Park Zoo, has been ordered by federal officials not to treat any more manatees until an investigation is complete into “credible reports” he mistreated some of them. [Courtesy of ZooTampa]
The report was in response to a federal inquiry citing “credible reports” that zoo veterinarian Ray Ball had harmed manatees.

Controversial ZooTampa vet had no federal permit for experimental manatee treatment

Ray Ball, the ZooTampa veterinarian under investigation for medical malpractice that may have killed manatees, did not have federal permission to conduct experimental treatments of injured marine mammals, according to a spokeswoman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife. [ZooTampa]
Today is the deadline for the zoo to answer the "credible reports" that veterinarian Ray Ball mistreated manatees and may have killed two.

Fate of the Florida panther could rest on this Collier County housing plan

In eastern Collier County, an hour's drive inland from the waterfront condos of Naples, amid cattle ranches and tomato fields and cypress swamps, panthers prowl the night. For now. [File photo]
The groups supporting the plan are shifting their strategy after years of trying to block other developments in panther habitat.