Review of Exotic Ungulates: A Case Study in Florida

Little is known about exotic ungulates in Florida. This study evaluated the status of this industry in Florida and its potential for detrimental impacts on native wildlife. The exotic ungulate industry in Florida was surveyed by mail questionnaires to exotic ungulate permittees, phone interviews, interviews with exotic ungulate owner/managers, interviews with law enforcement wildlife inspectors, review of permit application forms on file with the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission, and review of the International Species Inventory System list. There were 64 wildlife exhibits, game farms, and hunting preserves that maintained >6,000 exotic hoofed-animals representing 103 species and subspecies. The number of new game farms with exotic ungulates has increased dramatically in the past 10 to 15 years. The most common species are fallow (Cervus dama), axis {Axis axis), and sika (C. nippon) deer. These species are known to compete with native white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in other states. The greatest concern is the potential transmission of diseases and parasites to native species. The exotic ungulate industry should be monitored closely.

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