NAVIGATION

January 24, 2018

Southwest Florida Roundup

Crossroads: Florida's panther population stabilizes

Amy Martinez | 2/27/2017

Panthers once freely roamed the South from Texas to the Atlantic Coast. But habitat loss and disease landed the animal on the federal endangered species list in 1967.

Eventually, all that remained in Florida were about 20 animals in the southwest part of the state.

In 1995, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began an experiment to diversify the animal’s gene pool by importing eight female cougars from a closely related population in Texas. During the next eight years, the Texas cats bred with the Florida natives, and the gene pool was replenished.

But that bit of good news came along with other, more sobering statistics: In 2016, 34 panthers were killed along Florida roads, accounting for 81% of all panther deaths. The year before, 30 panthers died in collisions with cars and trucks, up from 25 in 2014.

ALSO IN THIS ARTICLE:  Darrell Land; Paul Sanberg; Carmen Bauza; Teri Sholder; Gavin Southwell; Patrick McNamee; Bill Law; Harrod Properties; ACI Worldwide; Loews Don CeSar Hotel; CareSync

 

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