Survey: Floridians favor endangered species protection

09/17/2013 10:49:00 AM
Vicky Boyd

manatee posterVicky BoydManatees are one of 47 endangered animals in Florida.Although Floridians rank the economy, health care and food safety above endangered species protection, they nonetheless favor legal protection for threatened plants and animals.

Those are the results of an online survey conducted by the University of Florida's Public Issues Education Center in August of 499 Floridians, according to a news release.

The survey also coincides with the 40th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act.

Florida is home to 47 endangered animal and 44 endangered plant species.

How they supported protection varied.

What we found, generally, is that people were most willing to avoid harmful activities such as avoiding buying invasive species or driving slower, than they were to do more active things, like supporting or belonging to an environmental group,” center director Tracy Irani said in the release.

For example, 55 percent of respondents said they were "very likely" to avoid harmful activites, such as not releasing pets into the wild or taking care not to degrade habitat, whereas only 23 percent said they would engage in civic behavior, such as joining a conservation group.

Other results include:

• 66 percent said they believed the Endangered Species Act should be strengthened,

• 78 percent agreed or strongly agreed that the use and development of land should be restricted to protect endangered species,

• Nearly twice as many respondents agreed or strongly agreed that agricultural and industrial chemicals and pollution pose a threat to endangered species than those who cited legal fishing or hunting.

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