Good News for Florida Panthers
The Florida Panther, our state animal, hasn't had an easy half-century. Federally protected since 1967, in the early 1970's the population was down to only 20-30 adult animals. They just barely escaped extinction with the help of a few closely related Texas Cougars, which were released to help prevent a population collapse from inbreeding. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) have just released their new population estimates, and they believe that there are currently 120 to 230 adult and subadult Florida panthers (it isn't that easy to count panthers, so the numbers are always at least a little imprecise). This is an improvement from 2014, when experts estimated there were 100-180 adults and subadults. The increase is an exciting sign that this highly threatened population is finally beginning to rebuild.
If you see a panther, or a panther track (which are distinctive; note the three lobes at the back of the pawprint!) you can report them to MyFWC.com/PantherSightings to help with panther research and management (they'd especially like a photo, if you can snap one). You can also learn more about the natural history of the Florida Panther here, and check out adorable photos of Panthers from the FWC here.
3/20/2023 11:50:03 am
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