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Florida Conservation Group Questions Large Development Plan

Conservationists say the land in question is in the middle of a critical habitat for the Florida panther.
Conservationists say the land in question is in the middle of a critical habitat for the Florida panther.

A Florida conservation group is questioning a plan to develop thousands of acres in southwest Florida that is currently home to the Florida panther.

The Naples Daily News  reported Sunday that federal authorities are currently reviewing a plan that would cluster development on 45,000 acres in northeast Collier County and in return preserve 107,000 acres as habitat for Florida panther and other endangered species.

The Conservancy of Southwest Florida says a study it commissioned shows that the proposed development would fragment and sever corridors that panthers use to move from one area to the next.

Amber Crooks, environmental policy manager for the group, says the proposal calls for development "smack dab" in the panther's critical habitat.

Those pushing the development proposal dispute the conclusions by the conservation group.

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