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No Golf Courses in Florida Panther Habitat

No Golf Courses in Florida Panther Habitat

A bill that was recently introduced in the Florida state legislature that would have allowed five golf courses to be constructed in Florida panther habitat has been withdrawn. Due to public protests over the clearly pro-development bill, it was pulled after just one week. One of the biggest threats to the very small and precarious population of wild Florida panthers is habitat loss. Obviously, creating five golf courses in their habitat would have been very damaging to them as it would have eaten up already dwindling space for them to live in, and as a very mobile animal they need quite a bit. New golf courses would not have only further reduced their territory, they would have introduced human-made chemicals in the form of pesticides and fertilizers, loud noises from mowers, and blowers,  extra human foot traffic, and more automobiles. Vehicle collisions are one of the top causes of mortality to Florida’s panthers. Last year, in one three-day period, five percent of the total number of wild panthers was lost due to vehicle mortalities. In 2010, about sixteen wild panthers lost their lives after being struck by cars.

Several months ago, because of the growing losses and increasing public concern about the critically endangered cats, construction on a new wildlife crossing was started. Wildlife underpasses can keep wild animals off highways and interstates, because they allow the animals to walk under the road surfaces where they can’t be struck by swiftly moving vehicles. The project for Interstate 75 cost about one million dollars. Destroying panther habitat with new golf courses, and disturbing them with increased numbers of people just to go golfing, makes no sense in light of the fact the state is trying to help the besieged with such underpass projects. Though it may seem quite obvious, a comprehensive strategy is required if a very endangered species is going to have any chance at survival. Besides, does Florida actually need more golf courses?

Very fortunately, the public sensibly halted the needless and harmful development project. (Over-development actually also threatens the quality of life for people as well, because it often results in stressful conditions like overcrowding, traffic jams, and urban blight.) At least in this single case, the people stood up for panthers and defeated the profiteering developers. Hopefully Florida will be able to avoid a situation where the only new births of panthers happens in a laboratory environment, such as these rare african kittens that were grown from frozen embryos.

Image Credit: Public Domain

Related Links

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Rare African Cats Born from Frozen Embryos

Florida Panthers to Get New Wildlife Crossing

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145 comments

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3:33AM PDT on Mar 31, 2014

This blog is truly extraordinary in all aspects.
Tips by Noon Prop 121

3:11PM PST on Mar 7, 2012

How about LESS humans! We have quickly become the pestilence of our world. In less than a millennium we have spread over our precious Earth like the plague! Without SERIOUS restrictions to human breeding, we will kill every other species and completely destroy ALL of our resources and in the end, ourselves. We need not walk that path if we would just accept that we MUST be responsible for the consequences of our TOTAL lack of interest in restricting our overwhelming numbers. SAD!

4:41AM PST on Mar 7, 2012

The last thing Florida needs more of is golf courses. In southern Florida, Broward and Palm Beach counties, communities surrounding closed golf courses are fighting off developers who want to pave paradise and put up a townhome. I was shocked last year when I went to the Florida Panther Wildlife Refuge and then drove over to Corkscrew Sanctuary. The last time I drove there, it was along 2 lane roads with nothing on either side. This time, construction of new homes that no one really needs and of course, bigger roads to handle the crowds. Corkscrew was in the middle of nowhere; now it is in the middle of Naples and we wonder why the wood storks aren't nesting there.

6:09PM PST on Mar 6, 2012

How many golf courses do we actually need?

11:04AM PST on Jan 20, 2012

Thanks.

10:08AM PST on Jan 20, 2012

Wow! That's a step forward!

5:39AM PST on Jan 20, 2012

We have enough golf courses.

3:20AM PST on Jan 20, 2012

They should never build new golf courses as it is very easy to have too many then the developers try to come in and build houses on the golf courses. It has happened too many times in Broward and Palm Beach counties. Of course, developers won't be happy until every inch is paved over.

1:41AM PDT on Jul 29, 2011

Good news.

11:07AM PDT on Jun 17, 2011

destroying natural habitats for golf courses is disgusting....glad to hear that the plan to build the golf courses was scrapped

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