Stop Walmart from building store in vanishing South Florida forest

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Federal wildlife managers on Tuesday cleared the way for a Walmart-anchored strip mall in one of the world’s rarest forests, a tract of vanishing pine rockland inhabited by butterflies, bats, snakes and fragile wildflowers found no place else.

In approving a conservation plan, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials said they do not expect the sprawling box store and mall, a parking lot or 900 apartments to threaten the survival of more than 20 endangered plants and animals — including the Miami tiger beetle — that live in the pineland. The approved plan divides what was once about 90 acres of forest scattered across 138 acres near Zoo Miami into two 20-plus acre preserves connected by a pathway, with the mall and apartments at the center. 

About 88 acres of rockland, a globally imperiled habitat containing a menagerie of plants, animals and insects found no place else, was sold this month by the University of Miami to a Palm Beach County developer. To secure permission for the 158,000-square-foot box store, plus an LA Fitness center, Chik-fil-A and Chili’s restaurants and about 900 apartments, the university and the developer, Ram, agreed to set aside 40 acres for a preserve.

We cannot allow this rare ecosystem to be destroyed!!

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