Florida Panther Population Running Out of Room

Florida panther

The Florida panther, a small subspecies of the cougar that inhabits southwest Florida, has grown in population from a mere 20 cats in the 1970s to 100 panthers currently.

However, the US Fish and Wildlife Service will only deem their conservation plan successful when three colonies of 240 panthers thrive.  In the current space of 3500 square miles, this may not be possible.  Scientists believe the area has reached maximum capacity for the large felines.

So far, possible plans to establish cougar colonies in Arkansas, Georgia, and northern Florida have not come to fruition. In the meantime, human population and development has increased significantly in southwest Florida in past years, decreasing the possiblity of expanding the panther population there.

For more information about the Florida panther space issue, see St. Petersburg Times: “Florida’s panthers thriving, but running out of room”

To learn more about Florida panthers, view Animal Fact Guide’s article: Cougar.

New Approach to Protecting Endangered Species

Akikiki

The US Fish and Wildlife Service plan on adding 48 species, including the akikiki (shown above), to the endangered species list.

On Kauai, Hawaii’s northernmost island, there are 48 species of animal and plant life that the US Fish and Wildlife Service would like to place on the endangered species list.  Up until now, the standard practice would be to protect each species separately, but a new plan consists of protecting an ecosystem as a whole.

Under the new plan, 27,674 acres of habitat will be protected and studied.  The habitat, which includes a range of ecosystems such as rain forest, moist lowlands and dry cliffs, currently faces destruction or modification by feral goats and pigs, nonnative plants, and hurricanes.

For more information: Honolulu Star Bulletin, “New protection for habitats”