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Friday, April 12, 2024

Deadline to own Paynes Prairie bison approaches

For those who want to own a Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park bison, the application deadline is approaching.

The requests for proposals, which will determine who will get to remove and keep the bison, are due Dec. 6 to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. They were sent out Nov. 4.

Jessica Sims, spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, said the proposals will be reviewed this month, and a vendor will be picked before 2012.

The department will not know the exact date the process will begin, how long it will take, how much it will cost or the details of the removal until a vendor is selected, Sims wrote in an email.

David Jowers, Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park manager, is directing all questions about the bison to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

The department decided in spring to remove all adult, male bison from the herd of about 60.

Since then, some animal activists and park enthusiasts have protested the removal, saying it will decrease the area's cultural heritage and possibly lead to the slaughter of the animals.

A public meeting was held in December 2010, when some Alachua County residents advocated keeping the animals in the park.

"Are you going to literally kill these creatures?" activist Lisa Grossman asked at the meeting.

"No, we don't plan to kill anything," said Dan Pearson, environmental specialist for the Florida Park Service.

"Would you purposely sell them to people you think are going to slaughter them?" she asked.

"I hope not," he answered.

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