Florida is home to lots of people, but it is also home to numerous animals and environments. South Florida has beautiful marshlands and forests, areas that thrive due to the high moisture content, and are packed with animals, birds and reptiles.
Recently, in an effort to save some of these unique areas, Judge Ursula Ungaro halted the destruction of some of this area. A large plot in southern Florida within the Pine Rocklands had been set aside for a new shopping center called Coral Reef Commons, one that includes mega shopping site Walmart, and an apartment complex. These developments would be set right outside the Everglades National Park as well as Zoo Miami. The area houses a dense forest that offers a haven to over one dozen different endangered or threatened species. Friday, an emergency injunction against the development plans by Judge Ursula Ungaro just hours after a lawsuit was filed against the development.
The Center for Biological Diversity, Tropical Audubon Society, Miami Pine Rockland Coalition, and the South Florida Wildlands Association stepped up to file a suit against the development in hopes to stop the clearing of such a vital area. They listed the cause of devastating and unlawful consequences to the habitat as well as endangered and threatened species as their grounds for the suit. Once Ungaro saw the suit, she felt certain that there were strong grounds for the lawsuit and felt the group had a great chance at winning. Therefore, she halted the clearing of the Pine Rockland Forest.
The development, which was initially approved by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, would not just damage animals, but also numerous plants in the area. Some of the most mentioned creatures on the list include the threatened eastern indigo snake, the threatened gopher tortoise, along with the endangered Florida brickell-bush, the endangered Bartram’s scrub-hairstreak and the endangered Florida leafwing.
Florida has already had its fair share of struggles with endangered creatures. It was originally believed that the Miami Tiger Beetle was extinct until a tiny population was found by Zoo Miami in 2007. Since then there has only been two small populations of these beetles and both are found in the Pine Rocklands, the area that would be cleared for the new shopping center. Florida also is home to the Florida bonneted bat, this creature is believed to have become endangered due to pesticides as well as loss of habitat.
For now, the development and land clearings have been halted and this unique area is waiting for its day in court. Everyone who was involved in filing the suit feels confident that they can save the area as well as the many creatures and plants that call it home. If you would like more information and details on this area and the development, head to the Huffington Post.