Beautiful, elusive, powerful – and critically endangered.
The Florida panther is one of the most endangered mammals on earth and the future of this subspecies is in our hands.
Florida panthers once prowled and flourished in America’s southeastern woodlands and swamps, but today, fewer than 160 of these majestic cats remain in a tiny portion of their historic range. And that habitat is shrinking every day – gobbled up by highway construction, subdivisions and commercial development.
In recent months, vehicle collisions between panthers and humans have taken a deadly turn. Vehicles are a leading cause of panther mortality – a total of 19 panthers were killed on Florida highways in 2012. That’s the highest recorded number of panthers killed by cars in a single year.
We’re in a race against time. As panther habitat becomes more and more fragmented, it will be increasingly difficult for these creatures to stay out of harm’s way.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service must prioritize efforts to create and expand wildlife refuges by obtaining and allocating funding and working with landowners to protect habitat that secures the Florida panthers’ future in the wild.
Defenders of Wildlife