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Feds worry about development plans for rare forest

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MIAMI (AP) — Federal officials say a developer building a Wal-Mart on a tract of disappearing forest between two national parks in South Florida should stop all work until a survey of endangered wildlife is completed.

The Miami Herald reports (http://hrld.us/1lfrj1k) that in a letter sent to Ram Realty Services, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said at least eight threatened species could inhabit roughly 140 acres of pine rockland in Miami-Dade County.

Field supervisor Craig Aubrey says Ram should first obtain a federal permit before proceeding with any work that could threaten protected species.

Aubrey says federal wildlife officers worry the project will damage critical habitat outside a 40-acre section set aside as a preserve.

Ram's chairman says the company is reviewing the recommendations and plans to meet with wildlife officials.

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from: The Miami Herald, http://www.herald.com

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