Florida Panther (Puma Concolor Coryi)

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Florida Panther, downloaded 10/5/09



Location and Natural Habitat

The Florida Panther can be found in southern Florida in the United States. Low tides, Palm Forrest, and Swamps are where a Florida Panther calls home. Its habitat is usually the same as the white-tailed deer, which is the Florida Panther's main diet. While hunting the Panther has been illegal since 1958, it still has been on the federal endangered species list since 1967 and on the state's endangered species list since 1973. The main factor in the decrease in Florida Panthers is human population growth which threatens its range and continues to ruin their natural habitat.
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Florida, United States. Location of the Florida Panther, downloaded 10/12/09


Niche
  • Diet- The Florida Panther is a carnivore. Their staple food is the white tailed deer. The Florida Panther is also known to eat Feral Hog, Rabbit, Raccoon, Armadillo, and Birds.
  • Size- The males grow to be 23-27 inches at their shoulders, the females are a little smaller. The males are usually 7 feet long from their nose to tip of tail, while the females are usually 6 feet long. Males also average to be 130 pounds, while the females average to be 70-75 pounds.
  • Reproduction- Florida Panthers Mate all throughout the year, with a peak in winter and spring. Females face gestation for about 90 days. The litter size is usually 1-4 kittens. Rarely do all of the kittens survive. The kittens are born with dark spots that they eventually grow out of.
  • Activity- Panthers are mostly active between dusk and dawn. They usually rest during the heat of the day.
  • Behavior- Panthers are habitat generalist. Meaning that they use a variety of habitats including forests, prairies and swamps. They are solitary animals and travel hundreds of miles within their home range. While Florida Panthers are usually quiet, they do communicate through vocalization. Sounds that they make have been described as chirps, peeps, whistles, growls, and more. Females notify the males that they are ready to mate through yowling or caterwauling.
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3 Florida Panthers kittens, downloaded 10/12/09


Endangerment

Today there are less than 100 Florida Panthers living. Humans are the main reason why the Florida Panther is rapidly becoming extinct. While it has been illegal to hunt panthers since 1958, humans are affecting them in a different way; their habitat. Compared to their historic range, Florida panthers are now left with less than 5% of what they once called home. Now with more Panthers than there is habitat, things like cars and pollution are killing Florida Panthers. In 2008 15 Florida Panthers were killed in by car accidents alone. Florida Panthers are territorial animals. Another factor that has lead to the decrease in Florida Panthers is the killing of one another. Conflicts have been arising between Florida Panthers and other Florida Panthers due to lack of space for one another. Overall, human intolerance has been the main reason why there are less than 100 Florida Panthers living today.
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Female Florida Panther, downloaded 10/12/09


Conservation

There are a number of organizations working to help the Florida Panther survive as a whole species. Among those are the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Florida Department of Natural Resources. These organizations have programs under construction that would allow for the panthers to breed and multiply in numbers and then be released back into the wild. They are also looking into cross breeding the panthers with subspecies to help grow the genes in better ways.
Their main goals are to educate the public about the problem, breed in captivity to help increase numbers and research other methods that could possibly help preserve the species. Since human intolerance is the main factor in why there are so few Florida Panthers, educating people is the first step in preserving this species. Overall it seems as though the efforts to preserve this species are failing, due to the rapid number of deaths (most of the car accident related). But the organizations claim that without the efforts that are being made, the diminishing if the Florida Panthers would be much more rapid, maybe even extinct.
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Past Range relative to Present Range, downloaded 10/12/09


Work Cited

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Male Florida Pather, downloaded 10/12/09
Belden, C. (n.d.). Florida Panther and the Genetic Restoration Program. In
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Retrieved October 12, 2009, from U.S. Fish
& Wildlife Service website: http://www.fws.gov/southeast/news/2006/images/
PantherGeneticFactSheet.pdf

Florida Panther. (2009, July 20). Retrieved October 12, 2009, from Defenders of
Wildlife website: http://www.defenders.org/wildlife_and_habitat/wildlife/
panther.php

Florida Panther. (2009, July 20). Retrieved October 12, 2009, from Defenders of
Wildlife website: http://www.defenders.org/wildlife_and_habitat/wildlife/
panther.php

Protect the Florida Panther or Lose Her Forever. (n.d.). Retrieved November 12,
2009, from Big Cat Rescue website: http://www.bigcatrescue.org/
florida_panther.htm