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Audubon protests "Exotic" animals on state land

The conservation group Audubon Florida is asking Governor Rick Scott to veto a bill that would let exotic animals live on state land. Regan McCarthy reports environmentalists warn the proposal could hurt native wildlife.

Julie Wraithmell is the Director of Wildlife conservation for the Audubon of Florida. She says a measure passed by lawmakers that would let organizations like zoos lease state lands for exotic birds and hoofed animals, like zebras, takes that land away from native species.

“Those lands were acquired with public dollars for the purpose of conserving Florida wildlife and the way the bill is structured is it actually pits the conservation of exotic endangered animals against the conservation of native endangered animals.”

The bill’s sponsor, Republican Representative Shawn Harrison, says the lands that will most likely be used are already “disturbed” and being leased for livestock, but Wraithmell says the bill’s language doesn’t limit the exotic animals only to that “disturbed” land.


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Regan McCarthy is the Assistant News Director for WFSU Public Media. Before coming to Tallahassee, Regan graduated with honors from Indiana University’s Ernie Pyle School of Journalism. She worked for several years for NPR member station WFIU in Bloomington, Ind., where she covered local and state government and produced feature and community stories.

Phone: (850) 645-6090 | rmccarthy@fsu.edu

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