Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Conservation Groups Urge More Funding to Fix Wildlife Crisis

TALLAHASSEE, FL – Conservationists are sounding the alarm over a new report showing one-third of species in the U.S. are vulnerable to extinction. Groups in Florida say that can change by adequately funding the state's Wildlife Action Plan.

The report shows many wildlife species are in danger of being wiped out if steps aren't taken to conserve and protect their habitat. Manley Fuller, president and CEO of the Florida Wildlife Federation, says state officials have a comprehensive plan to do that - but it's just a plan without any dedicated funding to implement it, and the state's wildlife is under siege from habitat loss, disease and more. 

"They are under a lot of threats and pressures, and you know, one is invasive species - Burmese python in southern Florida, eating its way through the small mammal population - and there are others," says Fuller.

The report says America's wildlife crisis can be reversed, and includes success stories of places that have received adequate funding, from the reintroduction of Canada lynx in Colorado and wood bison in Alaska. 

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission lists more than 1,000 wildlife species at risk statewide, including the Florida black bear, the manatee and the Florida mouse.

A resolution by the Florida commission asks the state's congressional delegation to fund conservation programs. Bruce Stein, chief scientist and associate vice-president with the National Wildlife Federation, says preserving species is a more widespread concern than many may think.

"There's in excess of 200,000 different animals, plants and other organisms that have actually been documented by scientists," he says. "And there's probably even more than that that. The problem is, is that many of them are not doing well."

The report by the National Wildlife Federation, American Fisheries Society and the Wildlife Society says more than 150 U.S. species already have gone extinct. These groups, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, have endorsed a bill in Congress. The "Recovering America's Wildlife Act" would increase funding for state-led wildlife conservation efforts.

This piece was reprinted by the Columbia County Observer with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

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