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Not just pocket change

October 21, 2003|J. Michael Kennedy

Wildlife pays. Or at least that's the finding of a new U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service report that shows that 66 million Americans spent more than $38 billion observing and photographing wild animals.

The figures come from data collected in Fish and Wildlife's 2001 survey of fishing, hunting and wildlife-associated recreation.

Animal enthusiasts spent money on everything from binoculars to cameras and bird food and shelled out for trip-related expenses from lodging to transportation.

"Many Americans enjoy watching wildlife; however, we often overlook the positive impact these activities have on state and local economies," said Fish and Wildlife Service Director Steve Williams.

The survey did not include trips to controlled wild zones such as zoos or circuses, where more animal-watchers' wallets are lightened.

-- J. Michael


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