Second Female Florida Panther Enters New Territory

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Haley McKey, 202-772-0247, hmckey@defenders.org

WASHINGTON (March 31, 2017) – A second female Florida panther has been spotted by trail cameras in new territory north of the Caloosahatchee river, following the first female sighted in November of 2016 and panther kittens confirmed  in the area just days ago.

Statement from Defenders of Wildlife’s senior Florida representative, Elizabeth Fleming:

“This is tremendous news for the Florida panther. These female panthers and kittens north of the Caloosahatchee river represent a brighter future for the species. This is a national milestone for wildlife conservation history: from just a handful of individuals in 1967, the panther has become a Florida icon and a symbol of successful endangered species recovery efforts.

The Florida panther faces the very serious challenge of habitat loss and fragmentation in one of the fastest-developing states in the country. 2016 set a heartbreaking new record for the number of Florida panther deaths from vehicle collisions, with 34 panthers lost. But establishing a breeding population north of the Caloosahatchee brings new hope. Defenders of Wildlife will continue to advocate for and promote coexistence with the Florida panther.”

Background:

  • March 18 was Save the Florida Panther day. Read Elizabeth Fleming’s blog and learn more!
  • Florida panthers nearly disappeared from the wild before they were federally listed as endangered in 1967. Female panthers have not been seen north of the Caloosahatchee river in over 40 years.
  • Today, vehicle collisions greatest human-caused threat to Florida panthers, along with habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation from land development.
  • Panthers, like other predator species such as grizzly bears, jaguars and wolves, benefit from coexistence efforts by ranchers and landowners to keep people and panthers alike safe.
  • Defenders of Wildlife takes a leading role in Florida on protecting and restoring panther habitat, reducing panther deaths on roads and helping people coexist with panthers.

 

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Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With nearly 1.2 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit www.defenders.org and follow us on Twitter @DefendersNews.