Four Florida Panther Deaths in Less Than Two Weeks Raises Number to 12 Overall in 2014

Categories: Animal Planet

florida-panther-brush.jpg
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via Wikimedia Commons
Sadly, it seems the only way you can catch a glimpse of an endangered and beautiful Florida panther is by spotting a dead one on the road. Unfortunately, two panthers were found dead in the span of a couple of days.

On Friday, a hiker walking through the Picayune Strand State Forest spotted the carcass of a panther. While the cause of death is still unknown, it marked the 11th dead panther found in Florida this year, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Then, on Monday, another dead panther was reported just north of Lake Placid in Highlands County. This one was reportedly run over by a vehicle, which is the most common cause of death for Florida panthers.

That brings us to four dead panthers in a little over two weeks and 12 overall for the year.

See also: Hunter Says He Was Attacked in First-Ever Florida Panther Attack

Just a couple of weeks ago, wildlife officials found a dead panther in the Big Cypress National Preserve that was likely killed by another panther, raising concerns about the overall health of their population.

The latest reports estimate 160 panthers living in Florida. And in 2012, wildlife officials brought over pumas from Texas to breed with Florida panthers to help rejuvenate the overall population.

But the panther that was killed by another panther was likely the victim of territorial aggression, which isn't rare in the wild. But with the panthers having to live in confined areas, we could see these acts of aggression on the rise.

The confined spaces also sometimes force panthers to wander off their wildlife reserves onto the road, where they're more likely to be killed. An average of 17 panthers are killed by vehicles every year, according to the Florida Sierra Club.

Second: interspecies aggression.

Already there's a Change.org petition asking Gov. Rick Scott to curb urban development and to set up corridors for panthers that divert them away from roads and highways.

panthers-five-year-death.jpg
via Florida Sierra Club
Panther Deaths: 5 Year Period
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6 comments
swampnana56
swampnana56

Out of 17 sightings in two years one was collared. There are way more than 160.They are also becoming quite aggressive. Almost like no perception of humans. Perhaps just the fatality numbers alobe should give some light on population. Striking a turkey call st our place pretty much guarantess a cat. State and Federal people need to address this. It is extremely cruel to cats and becoming dangerous to humans

gladesman
gladesman

It is worrisome to see NT utilizing a pie chart graph produced by such an extreme environmental group as Sierra Club. Regarding panthers in South Florida the Sierra Club become sound bite spin experts with a pile of bias for the most part.

This graph says (in fine print at lower left) it is covers a 5 year period with no specifics as to which years or even if they are consecutive years. Quite un-scientific IMHO plus impossible to double check against real scientific documentation that is available.

This graph does NOT agree with most reports from agency pros in the field that usually report about a 50/50 split between cars or panthers (not 72%) - as causing panther deaths.

Although it is sad in one respect these deaths are doing at least a little to keep the suspected panther overpopulation in check. Yes - overpopulation due to the 160 of them being double what the 6,000,000 acres S of Lake Okeechobee is capable of supporting. These occassional panther deaths may be helping panther PR by minimizing dangerous panther attacks and conflicts with people.The panther attack Mar 17 on a man near the Kissimmee River's  is a red light indicator that there are problems with this as well as other lethal carnivore species (google Lake Mary  bear attack) species being around with more than remnant populations.

Curt Cole
Curt Cole

I had just watched nova a couple weeks ago about how there are only a handful left and how they were trying to introduce females back into the population from louisana, texas, etc. they had also built a path where they could walk under an overpass on alligator alley ... while i'm not holding my breath on our lovely governor to set things right (lets face it, theres no money in it for him), we can only pray for their safety and hopefully some wise conservationists to help them find a safer way across roadways

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