18 March 2011 Saving Florida Panther Could Get a Big Boost Posted by: Caitlin Leutwiler | 2 comments | Share: Listen to Defenders’ Elizabeth Fleming on Public News Service Radio. NAPLES, Fla. – A proposal to create a new national wildlife refuge north of Lake Okeechobee could give a big boost to efforts to save the Florida panther. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wants to designate the 150,000-acre Everglades Headwaters refuge as part of a greater effort to connect to the panther refuge in the south. So far, four public meetings have been held and public comment is being accepted until March 31. Elizabeth Fleming, Florida representative of Defenders of Wildlife, says this proposal is different in that it features a public-private partnership. “One-third of it would be acquired as public lands and a full two-thirds of it would remain in private ownership.” Although numbers have been increasing, the latest estimates say there are still only 100 to 160 adult panthers in Florida. Much of that land would remain under the control of the area ranchers. Fleming says her group is working on a way to compensate ranchers for any losses caused by panthers. Although numbers have been increasing, the latest estimates say there are still only 100 to 160 adult panthers in Florida. Defenders' Elizabeth Fleming has been working to save FL panthers since 2004, when it was estimated that there were fewer than 100 big cats in the state. A “Save the Panther Day” open house is planned from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge near Naples. Sandy Mickey, park ranger at the Florida Panther and Ten Thousand Islands national wildlife refuges, says these areas are instrumental in helping increase panther numbers. “It certainly has rebounded and that’s thanks in part to habitat protection in south Florida, including the refuge which was established in 1989.” As the panther population grows, Mickey says, people should never feed wildlife, watch out for wildlife while driving, secure pet food and garbage, and protect pets and livestock in enclosed structures – especially at night. - Glen Gardner, Public News Service – FL Adopt a Florida Panther Save the Florida Panther Week is coming to an end. But our work to save these phenomenal felines is nowhere near over! Your adoption will help us advocate for panther crossings to reduce deadly collisions with vehicles, fight against development proposals that threaten their habitat and reduce conflicts between panthers and humans through education and on-the-ground efforts. Save Something Wild! Visit our Wildlife Adoption Center to adopt a panther or one of our 26 other imperiled animals today! 2 Responses to “Saving Florida Panther Could Get a Big Boost” Oscar Farrera March 20th, 2011 Hi. I’m a photographer, wild life photography lover with a Private Pilot Certificate as well. If you need some help, please let me know. Best Oscar Farrera Reply La Marca Monique August 24th, 2013 Panthers, tigers, leopards, bobcats, and others must be protected and have a safe habitat. Reply Post Your Comment Click here to cancel reply. Name (required) Mail (required) (will not be published) You May also be interested in Helping Yellowstone Communities Coexist with Wild Bison The Yellowstone Bison Coexistence Program promotes tolerance for bison on the landscape and helps individuals, landowners and communities coexist with bison. Wolf Weekly Wrap Up Our Very Own Suzanne Stone Awarded Grant for Coexistence Research; Isolated Wolf Comes Too Close For Comfort; Ongoing Investigation Into Wolf Shooting In Whitman County, WA; Are Oregon Wolves Going to Be Delisted? Not so fast…. The State of the Panther Despite threats like habitat loss and fragmentation, Florida panther populations are slowly showing signs of progress.