New Management Guidelines For The Florida Panther
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission approved new guidelines Wednesday for managing the state’s growing panther population.
The guidelines call for greater federal involvement and more land to accommodate panthers on the move.
The new guidelines are a response to a growing number of complaints especially among ranchers and large landowners in south Florida about panther attacks on cattle and other domesticated animals.
Commissioners heard hours of public testimony while meeting in Fort Lauderdale. Kate MacFall of the Humane Society said the guidelines weaken protections for Florida panthers.
“Achieving these goals aimed at preventing panther extinction, particularly establishing additional breeding populations in the Southeast may be more difficult in today’s world given the extent of habitat loss. But just because it’s difficult doesn’t mean we should throw in the towel on long-term recovery.”
Reaction to the guidelines was mixed. Some environmentalists supported them.
Cliff Coleman manages Black Boar Ranch, a south Florida shooting preserve. He says there are too many panthers.
“It went from seeing them once a year, then it went to once a month or something like that. We can probably see a cat weekly, and I can get one on a game camera or see a track every night of the week.”
There are an estimated 180 Florida panthers, that’s compared to 30 or fewer when the animal first landed on the endangered list in 1967.
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