16 March 2011 Habitat Protection Hole-in-One for Panthers Posted by: Caitlin Leutwiler | 6 comments | Share: This weekend brought good news for the big cats of the southeast, just in time for this year’s Save the Florida Panther Week! Legislators this month introduced a bill that would have allowed developers to build five golf courses in state parks throughout Florida. It was a move that threatened the parks and the rich array of wildlife that call them home — not only would it pave the way (quite literally) for future development of hotels, malls and other amenities to complement the courses, but golf courses themselves are notoriously unfriendly for the environment. For one thing, golf courses are a huge drain on water resources, particularly in a state that frequently suffers drought. Add to the mix chemical fertilizers and pesticides, loudly whirring lawnmowers and increased traffic, and those 18 holes can be pretty disruptive. And who can say that the first five courses wouldn’t lead to five more? Funds and personnel for land, water and wildlife management in the state are already limited. The additional tasks of golf course grooming and facilities maintenance would make conservation efforts even more difficult. Fortunately, it didn’t take lawmakers long to see the light. The proposal was withdrawn only a week after its introduction, thanks to public outcry at the ill-advised plan. The South-Florida Sun Sentinel put it simply when it said of the Jack Nicklaus Golf Trail, “Don’t get us wrong. We love golf. Just not in state parks.” Just another day of panther protection for Defenders' Laurie Macdonald (seen here with friend Corky) Habitat loss due to development continues to be one of the biggest threats facing Florida panthers today. As the population slowly recovers, it is critical that the far-ranging cats have freedom to roam. Defenders is working to protect existing panther habitat throughout the state, as well as pursuing opportunities to return the cats to their historic range. As part of the Florida Panther Protection Program, we’re partnering with conservation groups and private landowners to protect large areas of private lands and connections to public conservation areas for the big cats as they head towards the road to recovery. This weekend’s victory is a win not only for Florida panthers but a whole range of wildlife that call state parks home. And as Defenders’ Laurie Macdonald puts it, “This time, the appropriate eagle has won the game.” Learn more: This year, people are celebrating Save the Florida Panther Week all across the Sunshine State. Click here for more information. Live in panther country? See how YOU can work to reduce the effects of human activities on recovering panther populations. 6 Responses to “Habitat Protection Hole-in-One for Panthers” Warwick Neal March 17th, 2011 I would like to congratulate Defenders of Wildlife and all other organisations and people responsible for the successful outcome of the fight for the rights of panthers and other wildlife. You all have my admiration and thanks. Jennifer April 13th, 2012 Thank God they’re NOT building the 5 golf courses in the Florida Panther’s territory. WE (Florida) have enough golf courses. Not only do they take up precious land they are HUGE pollution contributors. All that fertilizer run-off pollutes every drop of clean water around. Thank you Wildlife Defenders for all of the fantastic things you are doing for our beautiful, one of a kind, sunshine state!! Bistra June 28th, 2013 this on the image looks more like puma or I am wrong? or they are the same? Post Your Comment Click here to cancel reply. Name (required) Mail (required) (will not be published) You May also be interested in Last Week to Submit Your Photos! Defenders 5th annual photo contest is now in it’s final week, but you still have time to submit your best wildlife and wild lands photos for a chance to win a trip to Yellowstone National Park with renowned wildlife photographer Jess Lee! Failing Report Card on Federal Efforts to Conserve Sage-grouse Analyzing the federal plans for sage-grouse conservation, our experts find some serious problems for this iconic and already imperiled bird. Valuing our natural heritage: The Green Investments 2015 Budget The environmental community recently released its Green Investments 2015 Budget, a proposal for Congress to invest in our lands and wildlife and put a halt to harmful cuts that hurt both our environment and our economy.