Coming to Florida: More panthers

Wildlife officials in florida report that there could be as many as 180 wild panthers in the state.

This July 2009 handout photo provided by the journal Science shows a three-week old Florida panther kitten in the Picayune Strand State Forest.

There may now be as many as 180 endangered Florida panthers roaming in the wild, and state wildlife officials are exploring programs designed to encourage private landowners to welcome the big cats on their property.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission biologists updated their population estimate for the panthers during the agency's meeting this week in Fort Myers.

The panther hovered on the brink of extinction in 1994 when just 20 to 30 panthers remained. After years of conservation efforts, including the introduction of a handful of pumas from Texas to southwest Florida, the number of panthers rose was estimated at 100 to 160 adult cats.

The commission documented the births of 21 panther kittens last year.

Panthers once ranged throughout the Southeast, but most are currently found south of the Caloosahatchee River in Florida. Now that 180 adult panthers may be sharing that area, officials say more large tracts of land will be needed to sustain a healthy panther population.

"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."

State officials say they are working to mitigate conflicts between panthers and people as the number of the cats increases. In the 2012-2013 fiscal year, the commission documented 25 cases of domestic livestock or pets being preyed on by a panther, including 15 calves on commercial cattle ranches.

"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 commission's Division of Habitat and Species Conservation.

Collisions with vehicles are the primary cause of panther deaths. Fifteen of the 20 panther deaths reported last year occurred while panthers were crossing highways.


Information from: Naples (Fla.) Daily News,

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to