Florida Panther Births Greater than Deaths

Thirty-two endangered panther cubs were born in Florida in 2011, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. In the same year biologists documented the deaths of twenty-four there. So the total panther population, estimated at 100-160, appears to be stable.

However, already in 2012 four panther deaths have been documented. So stability is a relative perception, when the total population is small enough that four deaths in just about three weeks could represent four percent of the whole. Last year up to five were lost in just three days.

The good news is adult females are giving birth, but all the panthers remain susceptible to the same sources of mortality. In 1995 there were fewer than 30 wild panthers remaining in the state and they were experiencing the ill effects of inbreeding. A number of females from Texas were introduced, and they began repopulating the state gradually with greater genetic diversity in their offspring.

Two of the main causes of panther deaths are collisions with cars and fighting between themselves. Loss of habitat has caused the panthers to live in more confined spaces, but they are capable of walking many hundreds of miles. With less wild habitat available to stake out for themselves, they sometimes get in fights with each other resulting in deaths.

Also there are still a few hunters who will shoot them, and this past summer a Georgia man was convicted of doing so. He received a $2,000 fine and two years probation for killing the panther. Florida panthers are protected by the federal Endangered Species Act.

About six weeks ago, a male juvenile panther was released back into the wild after being found at five months old near its deceased mother. Biologists raised it at a wildlife facility to the point it was determined to be  mature enough to live freely again.

Image Credit: Public Domain


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KS Goh
KS Goh3 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Eternal Gardener
Eternal Gardener3 years ago

For now...!


Debbie Crowe
Debbie Crowe3 years ago

It's great that more babies are being born.

I worry about the land area that they have. If they are fighting now over land to stake out for themselves, what's going to happen when more panthers are in the same small area?

Shin Takahashi
Shin Takahashi3 years ago

I think a little bit early to say Panther are in stable condition. However, increasing birth rate of Panther is very good news and appreciated.Cheers

Isabel Ramirez
Isabel Ramirez3 years ago

Hope they survive long enough to increase their numbers!

mari s.
mari s.3 years ago

Great news that more and more are giving birth -- it's too bad that they don't have enough space -- cats love plenty of room -- they should get more space -- it's extremely important to their lives.

Parvez Zuberi
Parvez Zuberi3 years ago

Thanks for the good news

Tana D.3 years ago

Good to hear that there are babies being born, hopefully the numbers will just keep rising; though I fear that the number of deaths will rise as well.

Gerhardus Malherbe

Please keep up the great work to try and save these beautiful animals for future generations.

Naomi A.
Naomi A.3 years ago

Nice to read some, partial, good news.
At what point would the population be declared unendangered I wonder?