Florida panther, ©Connie Bransilver/USFWS

Endangered Florida Panther Killed

On December 7, an 18 month-old female Florida panther was found shot dead in Big Cypress National Preserve in Collier County. Wildlife agencies immediately began an investigation, and Defenders of Wildlife is contributing funds to a reward established to help find the person responsible for shooting this young panther.

© Ralph Arwood

© Ralph Arwood

With a population estimate that ranges from 100 to 160 adults in a single breeding population in south Florida, the Florida panther is one of the most endangered animals in the country. Every individual is vitally important to the very small population and losing a female panther nearing breeding age – right in the heart of public conservation lands – is a tragic loss.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are asking for help from the public with this investigation. Anyone with information that leads to an arrest, a criminal conviction, a civil penalty assessment, or forfeiture of property of the person responsible for killing this panther may be eligible for a reward. People providing information can remain anonymous by calling the FWC at 888-404-3922, texting Tip@MyFWC.com or going online to MyFWC.com/WildlifeAlert.

Extensive development and road networks have destroyed and fragmented panther habitat and panthers must cross dangerous highways in their search for food and mates. Any increase in the panther population will depend on the ability of these cats to move safely northward from south Florida back into their historical range in the Southeastern U.S.

For wide-ranging Florida panthers to have a chance at recovery, we need to secure more large tracts of native habitat connected by travel corridors and help people learn and understand how to share the landscape with them. Defenders serves as the only conservation representative on the Florida Panther Recovery Implementation Team formed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to focus on reaching these goals.

Florida panthers need more room to roam. If you would like to help, please send a message to Department of Interior Secretary Jewell and FWS Director Ashe requesting that they make protecting more habitat and travel corridors for the Florida panther a high priority.

The death of this young panther is a serious blow to the subspecies. Let’s hope for brighter news for these endangered cats as this new year moves forward.

Elizabeth Fleming, Senior Florida Representative

31 Responses to “Endangered Florida Panther Killed”

  1. Yvonne

    Foolish uncaring irresponsible idiots….this isn’t the kind of animal you would kill for food even….an endangered species had to be for fun & sport……only thing there’s nothing funny or sporting to kill an unsuspecting & innocent animal……stupid stupid stupid…I hope these people are found arrested & charged with everything that can be thrown at them……damn sad….

    Reply
  2. bet holmes

    We need more park rangers obviously to patrol ..and stricter laws to protect our animals. We have to send out a very clear message that we won’t stand for this!

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  3. benedict atkinson

    Either there is corruption and an official let the killer in, or this park needs better security. The offender must be apprehended. The park ought to be grilling all staff and instituting new security measures for those entering the park, along the lines of search your vehicle and you – very time consuming but then did this individual smuggle in the gun? how else did the killer get in with a weapon?

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  4. Kevin W.

    Probably some trigger happy dumbass that just walked in un-noticed to try out his new rifle.

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  5. Mia Krishnaswami

    So sad. How can they get away with this in a wildlife preservation environment? I’m going to know that they will not. Evil is uncovered. It can’t hide.

    Reply
  6. Lori Heraty

    Please do all that you can to save & protect these beautiful, precious creatures. We are all God’s creatures. Human beings are the custodians of this earth & it’s up to us to do what’s right & protect these cats. Thank you.

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  7. robin k naylor

    My guesse is that whoever did this was trying to feel bigger,better more important.Sadly,it just demonstrates yet another incomplete,lacking soul who committed a crime against nature.No glory in that.Pathetic!

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  8. Egyptian Princess

    Low I.q. and low information thrill kill sociopaths make up this population of murderers. We have to stop hunting PERIOD and send the message we are a more advanced civilization. These people will eventually die off…but unfortunately not fast enough.

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  9. Katherine Gorr

    Zero excuse for this. Hopefully action can be taken to give the Florida Panther a fighting chance. No policy nor mandate is ever truly worthwhile, without those who enforce them.

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  10. Erich Baum

    were killed and exterminated, let the Pumas live enough animals. Without Pumas this planet has again become somewhat poorer.

    Reply
  11. Victoria

    does not matter to these ppl who would do this; they are the type that would shoot their own mamma

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  12. denise

    It is so depressing hear that so called human beings are killing such a beautiful and endangered animal all for what….” a so called thrill”…..

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  13. kathy seckinger

    All wildlife has God Given Rights! The federal govt should afford protection for them! They make part of the circle of life, without them everything is out of balance! Stop the ruthless killing of our incredible wild beings!

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  14. Jena

    Terribly sad and disappointing…makes me sick to my stomach. My family and I were just in the area, and amazingly spotted a gorgeous Florida Panther in the Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve. I will never forget looking into that cat’s magnificent face and eyes…I cannot imagine destroying such a being and consider myself extremely fortunate to have seen it in the wild, in its home where it should be able to exist in peace with humanity. Shame, shame on that killer and I hope he/she gets apprehended and punished to the full extent of the law. Karma will also have its turn.

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  15. Jo-Anne

    How Horrible : where is the security and what if a child had been there , bullets` stray : I hope they catch this hoodlum and Fast;

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  16. Jean

    Big Cypress is a preserve not a national park and hunting is allowed in national preserves. (Check this link: http://www.nps.gov/bicy/planyourvisit/hunting.htm).

    There is no way any park ranger could ever hope to control the back country. We paddle this area frequently in the dry season and it is remote in ways you can’t comprehend if you haven’t been there. There is no way a park ranger could ever cover the amount of territory this preserve covers and someone determined to kill a panther can get away with it because you can simply disappear into the scrub. This is a swamp with some pine uplands. It’s not a park you really hike in.

    Whoever did this is the scum of the earth.

    Reply
  17. john deter

    I know you all mean well. Big Cypress National Preserve is huge. There is no way to patrol the entire area and keep everyone out. This was most likely done during the night when cats are most active. I agree it is a shame. So is everything else going on in the world today with wildlife. Instead of venting your sorrow on these blogs; that the government does not even read. Call your government offices daily! Let them know that you want your tax money used to protect wildlife. I have hunted small game all my life. I know that won’t make me very popular in most of your eyes. One of my favorite Presidents ( T. Roosevelt) was a hunter too! If it was not for the foresight he had to pass several critical pieces of legislation; we would have almost no wildlife left in America today! The Pitman-Robertson act uses money from sportsman licenses and money from sporting goods sold to help protect these animals. The last two government administrations have seen fit to loot these funds for their own use. They would rather spend our money to kill off all the wildlife; than save it! That ‘s what they are doing with the wild burros , buffalo, and wolves now. The BLM, Farm Bureau, and special interest groups want all the land for their own use and a government subsidy to use it. There is nothing wrong with hunting for sport or food. Total extermination is something else. Don’t blame hunting. That is where we all came from. Blame these morons in office and business ; who all profit from removal of “waste or Byproduct wildlife” as they see it. Call them and get mad! Someone Needs TO!!

    Reply
  18. Ashton

    Why !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply

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