"Last summer, a rooftop Least Tern colony was inconvenient for a Keys yacht club who wanted to reroof, so they simply boxed up more than 100 eggs and 30 chicks of this state threatened species, distressed parents circling overhead, and delivered them to a local rehabber.
Despite returning the eggs and chicks to the rooftop hours later, none of the eggs or chicks likely survived. After urging by Audubon, FWC brought a case to the Keys State Attorney's Office (SAO) under state imperiled species law - but recommended settling the case for a $1000 penalty to be paid to Audubon.
We told the Keys SAO we would not accept that contribution - $1000 is a laughable penalty for a violation of this magnitude. You get more for poaching spiny lobsters, and at the very least each chick and egg should have been a separate violation.
Imagine my surprise to find a $1000 check in Audubon's mailbox and the deal inked between the Keys SAO and the condo association.
Audubon will not accept this penalty and will be handing it over to the Wildlife Foundation of Florida. There must be stiffer penalties for violating wildlife laws, otherwise they simply become the cost of doing business. Florida must do better."
~ Julie Wraithmell, Executive Director, Audubon Florida.
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