On Friday the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has announced that even though they neither plan to remove the Florida panther population from the endangered species list nor to change sanctions regarding its protection they will rethink the criteria imposed by federal representatives concerning removing the species from the endangered list and the commission’s responsibilities in such matters.
Florida’s local population of panthers has been increasing over the past two decades: the number of adult individuals has reached 180. When the species was labeled as endangered in 1967 the number of matured panthers was 30. Nick Wiley, the executive director of FWC said that the recovery of the local panther population is taking a different turn.
One of the most important concerns is the fact that state officials should not be required to decide the panther populations which exist outside of southwest Florida. Those are the areas where the animals are concentrated at present. This matter was mentioned in a revision of a paper on draft policy. In September it is scheduled to be voted on by state commissioners, but the original form of the draft policy was presented in June to the commissioners. It was set aside so that FWC staffers would have enough time to provide input.
The growing number of panthers in the area has caused the death of ranch animals and even car crashes on roadways. The revision on the draft will remove claims according to which the present panther population causes troubles to residents, landowners and recreationists in the area. The reviewed version of the draft policy is meant to restore and protect the natural habitat of the panther that live in the southwest regions of Florida. It will not create new population of panthers outside this area.
Kipp Frohlich, deputy director of FWC explained that it is of utter importance to maintain the public’s support for efforts that address the conservation of Florida panthers. In order to keep people’s support for this problem a first step would be to admit when there are conflicts involving wildlife. According to him even though the program for increasing the panther population is popular it has also led to a large number of conflicts in the past few years.
Image Source: advocacy.britannica.com