Puma concolor coryi
Let's learn about the Florida Panther!
The Florida Panther is a mammal that mainly resides in the Southeast U.S. It goes by many names such as cougar, panther, mountain lion, and puma. Male panthers weigh around 100-160 lbs. while females weigh about 70-100 lbs. It's length from head to tail is around 7.2 feet! It's a very impressive animal. It is also a uniform tan color with lighter fur around it's belly and paws. The Florida Panther has a varied diet ranging from fish and deer to raccoons and birds. When it's mating season and female panthers get pregnant, they have a litter of about 1-4 live kittens. It is very rare for all kittens to survive.
Where do they live?
Historically, the Florida Panther lived all throughout the Southeast U.S, but since it has become endangered, only a few known panthers live in South Florida. They inhabit forests, wetlands, and grasslands unlike the habitats of any other existing puma population. They need to live in areas with good cover, like a den. Florida panthers are nonmigratory mammals but they do engage in dispersal, for example, a single male might move an average of 20 miles away from their mother's territory to set up their own territory. Florida Panthers do not live above or below ground, they prefer to be on the ground, and they do not hibernate. Panthers are the only known big predator in the area, but the only threat to these animals are humans.
Why are they endangered?
The main reason why Florida Panthers are endangered are because of humans. We have cut down the trees all around Southeast U.S, restricting it into southern Florida, and they have no where else to go. At first, people had a huge misconception about these animals being dangerous, (even though there is no recorded attack of a Florida Panther on a human) and were afraid of them, so they were being killed off; either for fun, like taxidermy, or to get rid of them. They have been hunted since the 1950s and earlier, but they were put on the endangered species list in 1967. Now we are more educated about these animals but it might be too late because the Florida Panther is one of the most endangered animals. There are around 100 known panthers left in the wild.
By the Numbers: Saving the Florida Panther
There are many ways humans are trying to save the Florida Panthers, but the main way is to give them more land. They are restricted in the small area of South Florida, but if they had more space, they would be able to reproduce quicker and sustain many panthers. How scientist are trying to impo=rove the environment is to section it off from urban areas and places where humans frequently are. This will help protect the tree and rivers that support the Florida Panther. One major organization that is helping the Florida Panther is the Nature Conservancy. In the previous video, they explain what is being done to help the panthers.