Commissioners voted unanimously this month to move forward with plans to buy the 967-acre property, reportedly for around $10 million. Environmental groups praised the decision, saying the block of undeveloped land near Naples, Florida, provides essential habitat for endangered species including the red-cockaded woodpecker and the gopher tortoise. A radio-collared panther, likewise endangered, has reared at least two litters on the ranchland. The Florida panther first appeared on the US Fish and Wildlife’s endangered species list in 1967. Both the Florida Wildlife Federation and Audubon of the Western Everglades have long supported the preservation of this particular property, but money proved a sticking point. According to Gladys Delgadillo, environmental policy specialist for the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, protecting HHH Ranch “via any means would be a resounding win for the county, the public, and for Collier County’s wildlife and water.”
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