The Florida Panther is a subspecies of the cougar whose last remaining population only exists in South Florida in less than 5% of its former range.  Through historical bounties, habitat destruction, habitat fragmentation, genetic bottle-necking and road collisions, Florida Panthers are estimated to only have a total population of 120-230 individuals left.  This is actually a recovered number for the species that was once believed to be down to a population in the 20s a couple decades ago.  To remain viable, the current population would need to at least double in size.  A major problem with this fact is that little suitable contiguous habitat remains, female panthers are slow to disperse, habitat destruction and roadway mortality continues, and male panthers aggressively maintain territories that are around 200 square miles.

Zoo Miami veterinary staff assists the biologists in the National Park Service and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission staff in the Big Cypress National Preserve to conduct their monitoring of the resident Florida Panther population in the preserve.  This ongoing monitoring program helps guide policymakers in managing the population, tracking mortality events, and learning about kitten survival.

Discuss this Project

  1. Becca Bryan

    Sounds intriguing. Would love to know more.

  2. Brian Cammarano

    As a student studying biology with a passion for wildlife conservation, I believe this recovery program is extremely vital to the survival of our Florida panther. For such an endangered species with estimated population numbers in the 100’s, now is the time to take action. Education is key when it comes to conservation. With that said, I believe along with the monitoring program, we should present this issue to all guests visiting the zoo. The way we do this is up for debate, whether we hand out pamphlets or hold small seminars raising the issue through to as much traffic as possible. This will bring about more donations to the cause, along with individuals looking to get more involved like myself.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *