Florida Panther, © USFWS

Victory! More Room for Florida Panthers!

Florida pantherLike most wild animals, panthers need space to survive. And thanks to a recent land purchase along the Caloosahatchee River in Florida, they now have a little more room to roam.

Several entities  ranging from government agencies to non-government organizations to private and corporate donors all teamed up to purchase the American Prime property that provides panthers a dispersal zone from south to central Florida and beyond.

Prior to the economic downturn, the parcel was slated to become a new subdivision. Once the owners had to sell, preserving this panther corridor became an important priority as it is still in a relatively natural state while other lands along the river are developed. Without this linkage panthers would have no crossing point to travel north.

“We have supported efforts to protect and restore this land for years so that panthers can expand their range,” said Laurie Macdonald, Florida programs director. “And since a mother panther with kittens was recently documented just south of this area – north of where females have been confirmed in the last 30 years – I am feeling optimistic.”

The panther family was caught on film by a trail camera  north of the new nighttime slow speed zone Defenders helped champion to protect panthers in Okaloacoochee Slough State Forest (link to press release http://www.defenders.org/press-release/new-slow-speed-nighttime-panther-zone-help-reduce-wildlife-vehicle-collisions-keri and blog https://www.defendersblog.org/2011/12/florida-panther-sighting-heralds-slow-zone-designation).

“We are pleased that the dedicated effort by many organizations and individuals, particularly the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, The Nature Conservancy, Natural Resource Conservation Service of the U.S.  Department of Agriculture, National Wildlife Refuge Association, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Walmart, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and private donors, has finally secured this crucial habitat corridor,” stated Macdonald. “Defenders will continue to work with partners in south Florida and other parts of the state to improve safe passage through habitat protection as well as road improvements like wildlife crossings, roadside sensors and speed zones for wide ranging species such as panthers and bears, as well as motorists.”

Press release: http://www.fl.nrcs.usda.gov/news/ConservationPartners_WRP_Announcement_2012.html

Photo, caption and credit: http://www.fl.nrcs.usda.gov/news/images/Panther_dark_large.jpg





8 Responses to “Victory! More Room for Florida Panthers!”

  1. julie

    I’m glad that everyone is working together to save and protect our wildlife as the are very much a part of our natural wonders.These animals need a safe haven to continue to grow as they are meant to be part of our worlds legacy.

  2. Cally smith

    Fantastic news, it is so heartwarming these days, to hear of humans setting aside land for animals. What a magnificent animal this is.

    Thank you

  3. Denise

    Great news!! This beautiful animal and its hunting grounds must be preserved. Well done!!

  4. Michael Charles Augustine

    I have watched the Florida Panther decline since I was a child in South Florida. I am particularly pleased with recent progress of saving them. Allowing them to roam without getting killed by traffic has always been one of the most crucial issues concerning their survival. I’m 55y’s old and have watched numbers of total panther roadsign numbers get lower and lower until there was no more point in trying to count. Money for roads panthers can cross or no roads at all in certain places? Here, here. progress finally. Good work to those involved.

  5. Gayle Harlow

    As a former Floridian the Florida panther holds a special place in my heart. Thanks to all who worked on this project and succeeded!!! Great job!

  6. T. Christon

    Can you please tell me if the Florida panther plate, (that is for sale), is helping with the effort to save habitat for the panthers? I am a Florida resident and do pay extra for the panther license plate. I hope the funds are truly going to help the plight of the panther.

  7. John McCree

    Dear Ms. Fleming,
    I attended the recent FNPS meeting in Plant City, and did not have a chance to hear your presentation on Wildlife Corridors, but am interested in exploring the possiblity of having you come to speak to State College of Florida Venice Campus; this is preliminary planning, and to make a proposal I would need to know what your anticipated speaker fee would be. We have a walking trail on campus, and a Green Team is in the process of turning much of the area around it into a wildlife supportive area.
    Thank you,
    Dr. Woody McCree, Assoc. Prof. of Religion and Philosophy

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