Federal agency rejects panther habitat protection
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Federal wildlife officials have rejected a request to designate thousands of square miles of South Florida as critical habitat for the Florida panther.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service made the announcement Thursday. It is the second time the agency has made such a decision.
Although the Florida panther has been on the endangered species list for 40 years, the government has never officially designated what its "critical habitat" would be. The agency hasn't objected to any development affecting panthers since 1993.
Panthers are Florida's state animal. About 100 prowl the forests and swamps in an area that begins at the Caloosahatchee River and stretches down through Everglades National Park.
Information from: St. Petersburg Times, http://www.sptimes.com
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