Florida Panthers

The Rapidly Declining Population in the Everglades

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A Research Assignment and Investigation by Ty Bogar

Basic Statistics

Species: Puma concolor coryi

Average Weight: Males- 130 pounds ; Females- 75 pounds

Average Height: 25 inches, Females being smaller than males

Average Length: Males- 7 feet ; Females- 6 feet

Lifespan: 10-15 years

Population: 100 to 180 mature panthers in the area

Reproduction

Mating Season: All year, mainly winter and spring

Average Gestation: 90 days

Kittens Per Litter: 1-4

Habitat

The panthers are located in southern Florida, and rarely ever leave the area. The only known breeding area is here. Within this area, Florida panthers primarily live alone, each male roaming a territory of about 200 square miles, and each female about 75 square miles.

Predators and Prey

Predators: The Florida panther is the top predator of its ecosystem, however main causes of death include habitat destruction and being killed by automobiles.

Prey: Diet includes white-tailed deer, birds, armadillo, rabbits, raccoons, and small mammals.

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Plan for Conservation

The United States Federal Government has protected this species through the Endangered Species Act, however the population of Florida panthers is unstable due to the shrinking amount of land it has to live on. The only way to conserve the Florida panther population is through the legal protection of these animals' habitat. The decline in numbers that can be seen in the population is human-induced, which can be proven by the fact that the main causes of death are construction and automobiles. The land needs to have a minimal amount of high-speed roads through it, and people must not be allowed to harm the landscape. Not only is this because of the population loss that these things are bringing directly, but also indirectly through the panthers' loss of land to live in. Adult male Florida panthers need about 200 square miles of land to roam by themselves. Large amounts of land are being overrun with human development, lessening the habitat. Panthers are then forced into residential areas where they are killed, or into each other's territories which ultimately lowers the carrying capacity of the area. This plan includes the additional benefit of conserving many other species in the area because of the large amount of land that would have to be conserved, which benefits the panthers in itself by increasing the amount of prey for the species.
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