IMMOKALEE (CBSMiami/AP) – U.S. officials say the diplomatic thaw with Cuba has led to a new collaboration with the island’s scientists to study the ghost orchid—one of the world’s rarest flowers.READ MORE: Alfonzo Amaker Charged In SW Dade Shooting That Injured Four, Including Two Children
Ernesto Mujica of Cuba’s Ministry of Science ECOVIDA Research Center has joined researchers from Illinois College and the University of Florida in the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge to study ghost orchids. The delicate blooms were the star of the book “The Orchid Thief” and the movie “Adaptation.”READ MORE: 14-Year-Old Shot, Killed In SW Miami-Dade Park
The five-decade-plus Cuba trade embargo and travel restrictions to the island inhibited orchid researchers in both countries from sharing data.
Mujica waited two years for a U.S. visa to visit Florida before his application was approved this year.MORE NEWS: COVID-19 Testing Sites In South Florida
This month, Mujica helped document ghost orchids throughout the refuge and demonstrated long-term monitoring methods he uses in Cuba.