Saturday, May 12, 2007

Fla. Panther Population Growing

Florida PantherThe Miami Herald is reporting that "for the second time in just over a year, an endangered Florida panther has died on a South Miami-Dade road. The cat, found Wednesday along the 18-mile stretch to the Florida Keys about a half-mile south of Card Sound Road, was the eighth killed on Florida roads this year... Before a panther death last February on Card South Road, it had been nearly 20 years since a documented vehicle strike in the area. Darrell Land, panther team leader for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, said the recent deaths point to an expanding population of panthers encountering an expanding population of people."

Meanwhile, Colier County's NBC-2 is reporting "an endangered Florida Panther was spotted earlier this week inside a gated community in Collier County. Wildlife experts say it's a rare encounter that could become more common. Tammy Rye spotted the big cat after it startled her dog... 'At this point I'm like oh my God; I don't know what this is...' said Rye. She thought it was a bobcat, but authorities showed up and told her she was mistaken... The panther was in a nearby tree. Biologists say the big cats aren't supposed to be so close to town. 'We haven't had to deal with it historically,' said Mark Lotz, panther biologist. Lotz says development and a booming panther population is pushing animals out of their natural habitat... Another problem, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission says more pets are getting attacked by panthers. So far this year, at least four pets have been killed by panthers. Lotz thinks it could start happening more often."