Apr 28, 2021 - News

Florida legislature unanimously votes to protect wildlife corridor

A panther creeps through a fence at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, emerging from nearby ranchland. The sanctuary is too small to support even one adult male panther, which may require up to 200 square miles of territory for roaming and hunting. While a male's territory can overlap a little with that of another male, the solitary cats generally avoid each other. Photo: Carlton Ward Jr./National Geographic Society

After a decade of work by Florida wildlife advocates and conservationists, both houses of the legislature unanimously passed the Florida Wildlife Corridor Act to protect the state's interior greenways that are vital to animal migration.

Why it matters: The act, which has broad support from communities, ranchers, farmers and environmentalists, secures access to habitats for a range of wildlife, including the endangered Florida panther, and stops the division and fragmentation of critical migration lands.

  • It'll put $300 million specifically toward protecting the Florida Wildlife Corridor, plus another $100 million for the Florida Forever land conservation program.
  • The cash will also protect the headwaters of major watersheds, like the Everglades and St. Johns River, and help sustain working farms, lands and forests.

What they're saying: "The overwhelming bipartisan support speaks to the shared commitment for conserving Florida’s land and water, and the Act itself provides a clear framework for achieving a lasting conservation legacy," said Carlton Ward, Jr., a National Geographic Explorer, photographer and founder of the Path of the Panther initiative.

What's next: It'll take effect on July 1 if signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis.


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