That’s what many people say when kittens are born.
When Florida panther kits are born, though, panther researchers have a lot of work to do to track the species, according to the News-Press.
The article points out that last year was a record for the number of kits born — 43 — even though it was also a record for the number of panther roadkills — 15.
More Florida panther stories from last year are in the article, too.
There is a long, detailed article about endangered Florida panthers and the loss of habitat they are experiencing in the Naples Daily News. This article is so intricate I couldn’t possibly try to sum up except to say it basically makes the case that although the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (which keeps the Endangered Species List) is charged with protecting the panther, it hasn’t seemed to stop development that segments panther territory, further making panther recovery improbable.
As many times as I’ve driven along Alligator Alley and worried I wouldn’t be able to stop in time if a panther ran across the road, I also reassured myself the fence along both sides of the highway and the underpasses would keep panthers away from high-speed danger. But yesterday, a Florida panther was hit and killed by a vehicle yesterday on Alligator Alley, Naples Daily News reports, saying it’s the first time a panther has been killed on that part of the road since the fence went up.
Now I know better and can worry more. Of course, I should have known better. Why would a fence stop an animal like a panther? It might deter a panther, of course, but . . . .
The article says 15 panthers have died so far this year from vehicle collisions, which is a record, and 19 panthers have died overall. Because it’s estimated there are fewer than 100 Florida panthers in the state, that’s a huge percentage of the population to die.
Photo from U.S. Geological Survey
A reader writes:
“Hello, Are there Florida panthers in central-western Florida? I live in Tampa in a very woodsy area and spotted a panther. I know it may not sound believable, but it was around 8 pm and still bright out. It was in plain sight, and we had a few minutes of staring at each other before my barking dog scared it off. Any info would be much appreciated. Thanks, Marsha”
Most of the time when people think they see a panther, they really see a bobcat, experts say. That’s because there are fewer than 100 Florida panthers living in the state, and most of them are in southwestern Florida. However, even though it’s not likely, it’s possible you saw a panther. Florida panthers have been known to cross I-4. Some residents as far north as Daytona Beach think they have seen a panther around. Panthers can roam quite far.
Visit the News-Press Web site to track collared Florida panthers.
Tracking collars help Florida panther researchers keep an eye on individual panthers and the population as a whole. And when you use collar-tracking information to look at the panthers’ movements across the state, it’s even more telling, according to this article in the News-Press. Read the article to learn the history of panthers in Florida and also the almost soap-opera-like lives panthers lead. No, really!
I should add the News-Press — in Florida panther territory in southwestern Florida — has a great section on its Web site all about Florida panthers. Here, you can track the panthers for yourself (really cool!), see Florida panther photos, read articles and learn about births and deaths in the Florida panther population.