Pages Menu
Categories Menu

Posted in Articles by BCR, Florida Panther | 1 comment

Florida Panther Update June 19 2014

Florida Panther Update June 19 2014

 

Photos available on FWC’s Flickr site: https://flic.kr/s/aHsjxNqYsp.

Florida Panther Update 2014

 

FWC Commissioners receive Florida panther update

 

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) biologists provided an update at the agency’s June Commission meeting in Fort Myers regarding Florida panther research and conservation programs.

Due to the success of panther-conservation efforts over the past 40 years, the panther population has grown significantly since the 1970s, when the panther was federally listed as Endangered.

Biologists have updated their “population range estimate” to reflect an increase to 100-180 adult panthers in Florida. Based on this estimate and habitat availability, panthers likely have reached their carrying capacity south of the Caloosahatchee River.

Historically, panthers ranged throughout Florida and into seven other southeastern states. Today, most panthers are found south of the Caloosahatchee River in Florida. The FWC and partners such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are preparing for the natural expansion of the increasing population.

Because large tracts of land are needed to sustain a healthy panther population, private landowners will be crucial to range expansion.

“Due to the expansive habitat needs of the Florida panther, the continued growth of their population presents a unique challenge to the FWC and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,” said FWC Commissioner Liesa Priddy. “As panther range expands, impacts on private landowners will continue to increase.”

With the increasing number of panthers, there also are increasing interactions and conflicts with people. The FWC and partner agencies currently are working with landowners to address the challenges they may face in having panthers on their lands.

“We know panthers can prey upon pets and livestock, and we strive to find solutions that work for people who experience these very real losses,” said Thomas Eason, director of the FWC’s Division of Habitat and Species Conservation.

People can help with panther research by reporting sightings at FloridaPantherNet.org. Reporting observations can help FWC biologists address panther conservation needs by identifying the areas used by these large cats.

Florida residents can support panther conservation efforts by purchasing a Protect the Panther license plate, available at BuyAPlate.com. Fees from license plate sales are the primary funding source for the FWC’s research and management of Florida panthers.

To report dead or injured panthers, call the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922) or #FWC or *FWC on a cell phone.

For more information on Florida panthers go to FloridaPantherNet.org.

1 Comment

  1. What this doesn't include in the report is that in FWC's panther update presentation at their June 2014 meeting this week is that many professionals in and outside their agency feel the restoration goals for the panther are unrealistic in today's Florida albeit using different words. Verification of my claim can be had by going to myfwc.com, then clik FWC Meetings, then June meeting agenda link, then to item 12 C and then clik panther update presentation and go to pg 21 and read the text below the image, then on to pg 41 and in the right column of challenges see 5th bullet "unrealistic population goals" Nuff said about that.

    The excerpt I will paste below from a Naples News article on this mentions the human component as being difficult and I agree. The excerpt discusses paying (large) landowners N of the Caloosahatchee River to accept panthers and the associated problems they bring. Some might call that bribery but who am I to say.

    This is Ggrrreeeaaat for the big boys in the cattle business but Who is looking out for the residential home (small land) owners in the path of the panther range expansion – they own land also and will be continually dangerously threatened as they never have been when a panther population anything like SW Florida has is thrust upon them.

    Residential/Ranchette homeowners better open their eyes to what is headed their way – all they have to do is google "panther problems Collier County" and read that areas problems over the last decades.
    Hobby livestock, pets and people will be at highly increased risk and be told to not let the kids out w/o close supervision.

    Article excerpt below:

    “As the population increases, they’ll run into more conflicts with humans,” McRae said.

    To mitigate that conflict, Conservation Commission biologist Thomas Eason said the agency is exploring several programs to encourage private landowners to welcome panthers onto their land, including paying them for the loss of livestock.

    “We want to work with private landowners until panthers are seen as an asset,” he said. “The biology on panthers is the easy part. The hard part is how can we merge that biology with human psychology?"

    It's too bad news reporters usually don't get enough space to report in depth on such critically important matters.