The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) is considering a plan to cut protection for the iconic Florida Panther. We need your help to expose this plan as a cruel and backwards threat to our wildlife. Click here to help fund a billboard calling out FWC for the feckless feline ferocity.
The Florida Panther is one of North America's most threatened species. According to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), less than 200 of these magnificent cats remain in existence.1 You would think that number alone would prevent anyone or any agency from even thinking about doing anything that would put this fragile species at risk. But then again, the FWC is not your typical state conservation agency.
FWC was created by the people of Florida for the "management, conservation and protection of wildlife animal life and fresh aquatic life."2 But their approach to Panther protection is anything but that. Their first panther proposal called the goal of bringing panthers back from the brink of extinction “unfeasible” and suggested there were too many of the cats already -- a claim that their own biologist referred to it as "not based on facts...but opinion."3 Their second attempt is no better, it still makes no move to protect panthers, and clears the way to place an exemption on the Panther's place on the Endangered Species List in favor more urban sprawl development.4
That's why we need to call out FWC and ask them whose side their on; the panthers or the developers? I can't think of a better way to ask this than with a big billboard right outside of their offices in Tallahassee, Florida. But billboards in capitol cites don't come cheap -- our plan to ask FWC Commissioners of their intentions point blank needs $5,000 to get started. Can I count on you to chip in to help thwart a pretty poor panther policy.
The FWC's poor panther planning is based on the frivolous conclusion that the panther no longer needs federal protection because there are more ranchers, developers and hunters running into them than ever before. But that's making policy based on profit rather than biology.5 FWC commissioners have cited their own financial losses as a reason to allow hunters, ranchers and developers to hunt, harass and otherwise kill the panthers. And we have already seen examples of hunters taking matters into their own hands by killing panthers.6
This is no time to consider anything that will reduce the panthers' fragile population. With developers, oil and gas drillers as well as hunters and ranchers all chomping at the bit for the right to shoot Panthers on sight, the FWC cannot act as a panther predator. We need to call out FWC so that everyone in Florida knows what's up with their official state animal. Click here to help us get the word out so the FWC knows we're watching and demanding much, much better.
Thanks for all you do,
Anthony and the Environmental Action Panther Protection Patrol
1. United States Fish and Wildlife Service: Florida Panther Fact Sheet.
2. Florida State Constitution, Article IV Section 9.
3. Ingraham, Christopher. There Are Only 180 Panthers Left, And Drivers Are Killing Dozens of Them Each Year. The Washington Post. July 31, 2015.
4. Pittman, Craig. Wildlife Commissioner Part of Group Seeking Permit to 'Take' Panthers. Tampa Bay Times. August 14, 2015.
5. O'Connor, M.R. No Home For The Florida Panther. The New Yorker. September 9, 2015.
6. Munzenreider, Kyle. Someone Shot A Florida Panther And FWC Is Offering A $5,000 Reward For Tips. Miami New Times. April 14, 2015.