Florida Panther Population Saved by Texas Pumas
Turns out that male Florida panthers think female Texas pumas are kinda hot, because the once-endangered cat's population has been buoyed thanks to mating with those Texas felines.
Back in 1995, eight female pumas were brought to Florida from Texas by wildlife officials, in hopes that mating with the native cats would save them.
Now, according to a new study from University of Florida scientists published Monday in the Journal of Animal Ecology, it looks like a love connection was definitely made.
According to the report, without those Texas pumas, there was a very good chance the panther population in Florida would have dipped under ten by 2010. This would have led to inbreeding, which would eventually have led to full-on extinction.
Loss of habitat, being roadkill, and other factors have led to the dwindling of the cats over the years. But thanks to the special Florida panther license plates -- which helped bring awareness to the situation -- and officials coming up with the idea of bringing over some lady Texas pumas to hit it off with our male panthers, things are looking good for an animal that might have otherwise been history.
Recent counts have the Florida panther population at 100 to 160. Not a great number, but definitely better than ten or none.
Nice job, lady Texas pumas!