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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wildlife Wednesday: Save the Panther

I am just in awe of the beauty of these animals.
As you may know, earlier this month the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife officially declared the Eastern Cougar extinct. Many animal lovers, myself included, have been quite depressed by this. Rather than mope around for too long, though, we are mobilizing to preserve a cousin of the Eastern Cougar: the Florida Panther.
This is Save-the-Florida-Panther week, and this week the Defenders of Wildlife and others are working to spread awareness about these beautiful cats and their decreasing numbers.
D.O.W. has a really great information page that you should really check out when you can but here are the high (or low) points:
- The Florida Panther almost became extinct back in the 1950s.
- Today there are only somewhere between 100 and 160 in the wild.
- Last year, 16 Florida Panthers were killed by cars when attempting to cross roadways. That's 10% of the optimistic estimate of the entire population! Quick shout out to Floridian drivers: slow down! Seriously.
- Habitat loss is another major factor threatening the survival of these cats.
Kittens are born with spots (for camouflage) that fade as they get older.
Kittens stay with their mothers for up to 2 years.
Here is a video made by a panther advocate that better describes the situation in Florida. (Don't be confused. The terms "panther" and "cougar" are often used interchangeably.)

Please take the time to learn a bit more of the plight of the Florida Panther. You may also want to look at the Defenders of Wildlife's Adopt a Panther program as a means of providing some financial support in this struggle.

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