Florida Panther Population Is On The Rise

Posted: Feb 23 2017, 1:38pm CST | by , Updated: Feb 23 2017, 1:48pm CST, in News | Latest Science News

 

Florida Panther Population is on the Rise
Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that there are 120 to 230 adult panthers within their prime habitat

Florida’s fearsome predator has made a resounding comeback in its natural habitat after years of decline.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Wednesday that the population of Florida Panther has increased from about 180 individuals in 2014 to 230 panthers this year.

The new data shows a steady rise in the Florida panther population over the past few decades. There were 50 to 70 Florida panthers in 1995, followed by 90 to 120 in early 2000. Only 20 to 30 of them were recorded in the 1970s and 1980s. However, these are not the exact figures. The numbers includes only adults and juvenile and not the kittens or younger ones.

"This latest Florida panther population estimate is good news, an indication that conservation efforts are on track in helping recover this endangered animal," said Kipp Frohlich, chief of habitat and species conservation for Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. "In the 1970s and 1980s, it was estimated only 20 to 30 panthers remained in Florida."

Florida panther is subspecies of puma or cougar that inhabits the forests and swamps of Southern Florida. The decline in its population is largely attributed to hunting and habitat loss. 

Florida panther was one of the first species added to the U.S. Endangered Species List in 1967. Since then, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in collaboration with state wildlife agency have achieved a great success in recovering animal’s population. They restored the breeding population of panthers in south of the Caloosahatchee River as well as in the north to some extent. In November, the first known female panther was seen in the north side of the Caloosahatchee River, which is an highly unlikely place for a panther to roam.

Kipp Frohlich says. “The bottom line is we’re having a lot of conservation success and the population has really grown pretty steadily since 1995, so it’s a good news story.”

 

 

 

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.

 

 

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