Florida Panther is considered one of the most endangered mammals on the planet. Today, approximately 180 cats currently remain in the world. Most of these cats lived around the Okaloacoochee Slogh such as the Florida Panther National Wildlife near Naples. Studies have shown that the Panther roams north of these regions, but they have not bred or established home ranges north of the Caloosahatchee River (Hedrick & Fredrickson, 2009). This is one of the most critical obstacles to the survival of the Panthers. There is the need for the Panthers to extend their range beyond the confines of their territory to prevent extinction conservationists have argued that Florida panther will remain endangered and at critical risk. Despite the increasing number of Florida Panthers in the recent years, these animals have been listed as the endangered species as a result of the destruction of their habitats. Additional research is required to understand human activities on the survival of Florida Panthers.
Florida Panther is one of the cougar’s subspecies that has successfully adapted to the subtropical surroundings of Florida. Currently, about 80 to 100 Panthers are remaining throughout Florida which makes them rare and in danger of extinction globally. Their habitat is found in the Pineland, hardwood hammocks, and mixed swamp forests. According to Langin & Jacobson, (2012 ) , the panther population has been established to grow at a critical time when their habitat is being lost at higher rates. The major threat to these animals’ survival is the loss and degradation of their habitat. A significant threat to Florida panthers' survival is loss and ruin of habitats. The populations of these cats have risen significantly over the last years to the extent that FWC is considering taking them from the list of the endangered species. Their population covers a roaming range of about 200 square miles predominately in remote regions of southwest Florida, and there is one little-known fact that makes this decision a critical one (Silverstein, Silverstein & Nunn, 1997). It has been shown that a major fact that makes Florida panther unique is east of the Mississippi River, Florida is the only place that a population of these animals ( Mcclintock, Bonorato & Martin, 2015). Various factors have been shown to threaten these animals including, human and health. Florida Panthers are killed by both trucks and cars especially on State Road 29 and Alligator Alley (1-75).
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Based on the knowledge analyzed above, it is clear that Florida Panther is highly endangered where their numbers are increasing significantly, but at the same time, their habitats are being lost due to increased human activities and population. Hunters have also been reported to shoot these animals occasionally, and this has reduced their number. Health and loss of habitats are the primary factors that have caused increased death of these cats ( Mcclintock, Onorato & Martin, 2015 ). The poor health of these animals is closely related to poor habitat condition and their genetic defects. It is evident that these animals are increasing in number, but on the other hand, the habitats are increasingly being encroached forcing them to roam into the human habits where they are easily killed. If there were enough habitats for the Panthers, then they would be safer and away from people who are the major threat to their existence.
The research is critical since it will inform the concerned department of the greater threat facing Florida Panthers. These groups would be able to understand how endangered these animals are becoming and how their habitat have been substantially damaged by human activities and increased human population. The research will further result in the development of several recovery plans undertaken including protecting and enhancing the existing range and habitats and the reintroduction of panthers of Panthers into areas of suitable habitats. It is recommended that further research is necessary to focus on human activities impacts on Florida Panthers to survival.
Hedrick, P. W., & Fredrickson, R. (2009). Genetic rescue guidelines with examples from Mexican wolves and Florida panthers. Conservation Genetics , 11(2), 615-626. doi:10.1007/s10592-009-9999-5
Langin, C., & Jacobson, S. K. (2012 ). Risk and residency influences on public support for florida panther recovery [Abstract]. Wildlife Society Bulletin, 36 (4), 713-721. doi:10.1002/wsb.187
Mcclintock, B. T., Onorato, D. P., & Martin, J. (2015). Endangered Florida panther population size determined from public reports of motor vehicle collision mortalities . Journal of Applied Ecology, 52 (4), 893-901. doi:10.1111/1365-2664.12438
Silverstein, A., Silverstein, V. B., & Nunn, L. S. (1997). The Florida panther . Brookfield, CT: Millbrook Press.