The greatest threat to Florida panthers is habitat loss. Highways and development are increasingly fragmenting Florida. We have enough infrastructure currently in place to support the state’s growing population. With new developments, including needless toll roads crossing the state, Florida panthers are at a greater chance of being hit by cars – the leading cause of death in a year that has broken all previous records. By protecting Florida’s vast interior rural landscape from development, creating wildlife corridors to connect conservation areas, and diverting panthers away from our roads, we can give the big cat a protected home and safe paths to travel.
The commendable work by the Florida Wildlife Corridor to protect the panther by establishing a connected wildlife corridor can be seen in the map above. The corridor would be a lifeline not only for roaming panthers, but for the Florida black bear and many other species. Although FWS has stricken its decision to list Critical Habitat, the residents of Florida have the opportunity to get ahead of the game by supporting the increase of conservation lands, prevent development within panther habitat, and work in a multi-stakeholder audience for education – all of which will contribute to improved species and land protection.