Sunday, April 28, 2013

FWC reports eighth panther death in Florida

FWC reports eighth panther death in Florida, The Miami Herald reported on Friday, April 26, that the remains of an endangered Florida panther were found on Friday at the Big Cypress National Preserve in southwest Florida.

The five to six year old female with a tracking collar was the eighth panther death this year, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).

The dead panther, which appears to have been killed in a fight with another panther, has been taken to the FWC's Wildlife Research Lab in Gainesville for a necropsy.

The Florida panther once roamed across the southeastern United States, but it is mainly found in south Florida. The FWC estimates that between 100 and 160 adult panthers remain in the wild, south of the Caloosahatchee River and Lake Okeechobee.

Much of their habitat has been lost to development. Scientists say panthers need lots of land where they can hunt deer, wild hogs, raccoons, armadillos, and rabbits.

Officials say five panthers have died this year after being hit by a car. Vehicle strikes were blamed for most of the more than two dozen panther deaths reported last year.

Gov. Rick Scott had declared March 16 to be Florida Panther Day to raise awareness about the big cats' plight and conservation efforts to help their survival.

Wildlife officials say the panther population has risen in the past two decades, largely as a result of focused conservation efforts.

Panther research, management and protection efforts are funded through the sale of Florida panther specialty license plates.

The FWC asks the public to report any sightings of panthers or their tracks to help document their range.

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