Success: Plan Proposed to Extend Endangered Panthers’ Habitat

Target: Director of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Daniel Ashe

Goal: Praise the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for proposing a plan to expand endangered Florida panthers’ habitat and foster population growth

The endangered Florida panther’s natural habitat has been increasingly eroded by urban development. Just a few months ago we posted a petition asking the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect the last of these beautiful creatures. The agency has responded with a plan that will extend the pumas’ habitat, allowing the species to flourish and its population to grow.

Efforts to conserve the big cats began in 1995 when officials introduced eight Texas pumas to the population to increase its genetic diversity. The panthers’ numbers have since increased dramatically, but the continued development of subdivisions and highways limits their habitat to a constantly-shrinking area of southern Florida. So far in 2014 seventeen panthers have been killed, mostly as a result of car collisions. For a population estimated to be between 100 and 180, this represents a significant loss. Unless panthers are given land on which to thrive their survival will never be secure enough to warrant removal from the endangered species list.

A new plan proposed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would compensate landowners for maintaining cattle pastures and areas of wooded scrub where panthers can live free from the threat of encroaching human development. Although this is a short-term solution, it’s a necessary start to what will likely be a long and difficult struggle to maintain and expand habitat for these large predators.

Thank the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for putting into motion a plan to restore Florida panthers’ natural habitat, protecting a species that is at the brink of extinction due to human development and carelessness.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Director Daniel Ashe,

I want to thank you for prioritizing the preservation of the once-thriving population of Florida panthers. This small, endangered population is now the only subspecies of puma in existence in the Southeastern United States. Their natural habitat has been almost completely destroyed by rampant urban development, and without anywhere to go the Florida panther constantly faces the threat of extinction.

Private landowners have often been the enemy of these large predators because they have been known to eat livestock. Your plan to pay landowners to maintain areas reserved for pumas could reduce this animosity by involving them in conservation efforts.

Although this proposal is only a short-term solution, I applaud you for taking concrete steps towards expanding the panthers’ territory. I look forward to the day when these beautiful animals thrive once again.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via Flickr

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