Only 80-100 Florida Panthers Survive Says Congressman to Obama
Congressman Alcee Hastings recently wrote a letter addressed to President Obama regarding the extremely small population of wild panthers living precariously in south Florida.
He spoke of the two main threats to the critically endangered animal – habitat loss and death from car accidents – in order to underscore the need for designating a protected space for them. His letter was signed by four other Democratic Florida Representatives: Corrine Brown, Robert Wexler, Alan Grayson, and Ron Klein.
Forty three years ago, the florida panther was listed as an endangered species, but there has never been any land designated specifically as a protcted habitat for them. In 1973 there were as little as 20 left in the wild, and by the 80s the remaining ones were showing genetically-related health problems due to inbreeding. The genetic defects were smoothed out by introducing 8 female panthers from Texas, and the population has grown now to a still tiny 80-100. (Some put the estimate at 50-100).
The remaining panthers are no better off today in terms of having safe land to live upon, than were their very beseiged ancestors. A petition of the wildlife service to create a protected area of 3,458 square miles called the Primary Zone has gone unheard.
And South Florida is known for residential development.
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