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Bird Watchers, Wildlife Enthusiasts Want To Save Pembroke Pines Eagles’ Nesting Land From Developers

By Jacqueline Quynh

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    PEMBROKE PINES, Florida (WFOR) — It’s not just South Floridians feeling the impact of the housing shortage, two eagles in Pembroke Pines might soon be struggling to find a new place to live because developers have their eyes set on the couple’s nesting land.

If that happens, bird watchers who routinely come out to watch the pair will be devastated.

“The main thing that I love about them is the people that I meet here,” David Mendez, a bird watcher said.

For years, wildlife enthusiasts like David Mendez. who helps run Pride and Jewel Bald Eagles of Pembroke Pines, a Facebook page have delighted in watching the pair lay eggs and raise their young. However, that land has become so much more valuable as the housing crisis continues.

Developers are coming to the city of Pembroke Pines interested in the 24 acres, one of the few undeveloped parcels still left in the city.

“They pick this spot because they love it, it’s perfect for them to have their nest and cultivate their young,” said Phil Martin, Audubon Florida Eagle Watch Volunteer.

Volunteers like Martin are worried about the eagles, and other wildlife if development is approved.

“It’s important that people have affordable housing but it’s also important that we take care of our wildlife,” he emphasized.

“Going back to the late 1980s, it was acquired by the city in lieu of taxes, this was actually going to be a housing development and the developer couldn’t afford to pay the taxes, so we took the land,” said Angelo Castillo, Pembroke Pines Commissioner.

While the space could make room for dozens of homes, Castillo proposes re-designating and saving the land.

“It could save an educational purpose so the kids could understand what nature is about, it could be a wetland mitigation bank,” he said.

But it doesn’t mean housing isn’t going up elsewhere.

“We currently have 170,000 residents, but we want to make sure the only residents on this property are these Bald Eagles,” Castillo added.

CBS 4 reached out to the city for comment but have yet to get in touch with anyone for comment as of this publication. A meeting is planned for April 6.

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