Tuesday, April 30, 2013

FWC reports ninth panther death in Florida

FWC reports ninth panther death in Florida, The remains of another endangered Florida panther were found on Sunday, April 28, in Southwest Florida, reported the St. Augustine Record on Tuesday, April 30.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reports that the ten year old female was found on Sunday in Collier County. The panther died after being hit by a car.

It is the ninth panther death of the year, the sixth from a vehicle. Vehicle strikes were blamed for most of the more than two dozen panther deaths reported last year.

The dead panther will be 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.

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.

When in panther habitat, the FWC recommends to decrease car speed and increase the distance between other cars. Also, scan the roadsides for reflective animal eyes.

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

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