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SUPPLEMENTAL ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT COMPLETED ON FLORIDA PANTHER CAPTIVE BREEDING PROGRAM

 SUPPLEMENTAL ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT COMPLETED
 ON FLORIDA PANTHER CAPTIVE BREEDING PROGRAM
 ATLANTA, Nov. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has completed a supplemental environmental assessment on the proposed establishment and management of a captive breeding population of Florida panthers (Felis concolor corvi).
 Copies of the document are available to the public. The service proposed the captive breeding program in 1989 to secure from extinction the critically endangered Florida panther.
 The supplemental environmental assessment was prepared as part of an out-of-court settlement agreement with The Fund for Animals, Inc., and Holly Jensen of Feb. 6, 1991. The supplement expands upon the service's December 1990 Final Environmental Assessment.
 Specifically, the supplement includes a rigorous and objective evaluation of such issues as: the feasiblity of captive breeding Florida panthers; the impacts posed to the remaining wild population from the removal of adults and kittens; the conditioning of captive-raised panthers for survival in the wild; the feasibility and impact of reintroduction of captive-bred Florida panthers to the wild; the availability of suitable habitat for reintroduction both within and outside Florida; reintroduction goals, release strategies, site evaluation and protection; public attitudes towards reintroduction of panthers and the concept of breeding Florida panthers with other panther subspecies.
 Based on the results of this extensive review process, the service has determined that issuing endangered species permits for the removal of a limited number of select Florida panthers from the wild population for the establishment and management of a captive population is not a major federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment within the meaning of Section 102(C) of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended. The captive breeding program will represent initiation of an important new task in the overall Florida panther recovery program. However, the captive breeding program will not be a substitute for, or reduce the emphasis on, the many other ongoing and proposed actions to secure and enhance the existing wild population.
 Notice of the availability of the supplemental environmental assessment and a finding of no significant impact was published in the Federal Register on Nov. 26, 1991.
 The Notice also indicated the receipt of permit applications to implement the captive breeding program by the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission, Jacksonville Zoo, Lowry Park Zoo, Miami MetroZoo, and White Oak Plantation.
 The service is seeking public comments on these applications. Individuals interested in obtaining copies of the applications and/or submitting written comments should write or call the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Management Authority, 4401 North Fairfax Drive, Room 432, Arlington, VA 22203, telephone 703-358-2104.
 All comments must be received by the service within 30 days of the Federal Register publication date. Final action on this Notice will not take place until a minimum of 30 days after the publication date.
 Copies of the supplemental environmental assessment are available by writing to or calling Dennis B. Jordan, Florida Panther Recovery Coordinator, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 117 Newins-Ziegler Hall, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-0307, telephone 904-392-1861.
 -0- 11/27/91
 /CONTACT: Vicki M. Boatwright or Tom Thomas of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 404-331-3594/ CO: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ST: Florida IN: SU: EXE


BN-AW -- AT002 -- 7637 11/27/91 09:08 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 27, 1991
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