Audubon of Florida urges Gov. Scott to veto “rhinoceros of a bill”

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Audubon Florida is urging Governor Rick Scott to veto HB 1117 – Conservation of Wildlife, passed during the 2012 Florida Legislative Session.

This legislation allows private zoos and aquaria to lease state conservation lands in order to construct and operate breeding facilities for exotic wildlife, including large hooved animals like zebras and rhinoceroses and aviaries for exotic birds.

“Florida’s conservation lands were acquired with public dollars to protect native imperiled wildlife; this bill’s proposed use could supplant threatened and iconic Florida species with exotic,” said Julie Wraithmell, Audubon Florida’s Director of Wildlife Conservation, adding, “The opportunity for zoos to lease state lands, likely for less than a private land owner would negotiate, is an example of government competing with and undercutting the private sector.”

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.