The Florida Panther received a dubious distinction from the National Wildlife Federation Wednesday.
It was dubbed the biggest loser among wildlife in America, as the endangered species struggles to survive. There are fewer than 100 of these big cats left in the wild, and the national wildlife federation says the government has failed to protect them time and time again. By allowing more and more development in Florida.
These cats at Tallahassee Museum are a Florida Panther-Texas Cougar mix. In the past year, eight Texas Cougars have been introduced in south Florida, and five of them have mated with Florida Panthers. Wildlife lovers say the breeding program has strengthened a species hurt by isolation and in-breeding, but preserving their habitat is a tall order.
The National Wildlife Federation decries increased development saying it casts dark clouds on the Florida Panther's chances of survival, much less recovery.
And the Florida chapter will be pushing agencies here to try to create land-swapping opportunities and set up new panther strongholds in places like the Okeefenokee Swamp. By contrast, the biggest winner according to the National Wildlife Federation is the whooping crane. A chick born in Florida last year was the first born east of the Mississippi in generations.