Panther Conservation Essay

2020 Words 9 Pages
The Florida panther (Puma concolor coryi) has been on the endangered species list since 1967 with only 130 individuals surviving within a small area in Southern Florida (Sullivan 2004). Prior to conservation efforts, the Florida panther has suffered several population losses due to inbreeding, habitat loss, and vehicular collisions with only an estimated 30 surviving individuals in the 1970s (Maehr 1992). The number one threat to the Florida panther is habitat loss and habitat fragmentation due to urban development in Southern FL within the hardwood hammocks and wetland habitats in which they live in. Most of the current panther population is located within public lands such as the Big Cypress National Reserve and the Everglades, …show more content…
1993). This exposure is often linked to the increasing agricultural development of citrus groves and sugar cane production within Southern Florida over the past few decades. Florida panthers are also faced with crossing corridors from patchy forested areas to developed areas that often result in fatal vehicular accidents. Being a Southern FL native, I saw the massive development of the five surrounding counties in the area first hand and seeing any wildlife such as panthers in a fastly developing suburb was a rare sight. With the panther population being so dispersed, even a person that has lived there for 20 years is unlikely to see this endangered species unless near a roadway or commonly crossed corridor. Panthers have been particularly susceptible to the creation of patchy habitats due to their large dispersal ranges and specific habitat requirements of both hardwoods and wetland areas for hunting and caring for their young. Southern Florida has seen a steady boom in development since the 1990s requiring more roads and suburban housing to be built near city centers such as Naples, Fort Myers, Miami and Fort Lauderdale, which border panther habitats and force the species to be mostly concentrated in the protected national park areas.
Over the course of this semester, we have learned more about environmental modeling and I wanted to research and learn more about how environmental change modeling could be applied to help the Florida panthers in south

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