Florida officials ask feds to review panther status

Officials with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission have written a memo to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service requesting that they reconsider the Florida panther’s “endangered” status. The memo states that Florida panthers may have “exceeded their carrying capacity” and are placing an incredible burden on managers and landowners. Unfortunately, the panther population is nowhere near the stated goal in the USFWS recovery plan. At present, there are between 150-200 panthers roaming southern Florida; the recovery plan calls for two populations of at least 240 panthers that are maintained for a minimum of 12 years before reclassification/delisting would be considered. Additionally, few if any threats to the animal have been eliminated, and the lack of high quality habitat and connectivity remains a significant barrier to recovery. There is still a long way to go before we should be considering reclassifying or delisting Florida panthers…

Please read the full article from the Ocala State Banner for more details.