Sadly, 2010 came to an end with little fanfare from Florida panthers – the past year was only marginally less deadly for the endangered cats than a record-breaking 2009.
Of the 23 known deaths in 2010, 16 were a result of collisions with vehicles. This comes up short of the 17 killed while crossing roads in 2009 – a record for the state – by only one death. The same goes for overall panther deaths, which totaled 24 last year. For a species whose population is believed to be just over 100 animals, those numbers remain far too high.
But the year wasn’t all bad for Florida cats: wildlife officials say this past year saw the births of 29 panther kittens! That’s great news when compared to only 11 births the previous year. Those numbers aren’t set in stone – unfortunately, not all the kittens will survive. However, those are only documented births – they don’t include those kittens born to uncollared panthers in the state. The actual number of Florida panther kittens may be much higher.
Florida panthers are still critically endangered animals, and with stressors like increased development and climate change, populations continue to face great threats. They’ll need all the help they can get in the upcoming year.
What can YOU do to make 2011 a better year for Florida panthers?
Make one of your new year’s resolutions to slow down – reducing your speed will increase your response time to avoid colliding with a crossing animal. See Defenders’ Top 10 Tips to help you stay safe on the road.