3 Florida Panthers Die in Early 2012, After 24 Deaths, 32 Births Documented in 2011

By: FWC Press Release
By: FWC Press Release
Florida panthers are off to a rough start in 2012, with three deaths documented by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC)

Florida panther killed by David Adams in Troup County, GA on Nov. 16, 2008

Tallahassee, FL -- January 12, 2012 --

Florida panthers are off to a rough start in 2012, with three deaths documented by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). Last year, 24 Florida panther deaths were recorded, but FWC biologists also observed 11 radio-collared females giving birth to 32 panther kittens. Overall, the known number of newborn panthers in 2011 appears to have offset the known number of panther deaths.

Today, an estimated 100 to 160 adults of this federally endangered species live in Florida. Panthers almost disappeared from the wild in this state when their numbers fell to fewer than 30 in the 1970s. Since then, their population has been increasing.

Collisions with vehicles continues to be the greatest source of human-caused mortality to this long-tailed cat that can weigh up to 160 pounds and grow to 6 feet or longer.

Already, in just the first week of 2012, there were two documented deaths of panthers hit by vehicles on highways in Collier County, where the greatest concentration of panthers in the state is found. The third fatality was caused by a fight with another panther. Among the 24 documented panther deaths in 2011, nine deaths, or more than a third, were due to collisions with vehicles.

“Florida panther deaths are most often the result of one of two things: collisions with vehicles or aggression from other panthers,” said Kipp Frohlich, head of the Imperiled Species Management Section at the FWC. “We can’t control panthers fighting when they are defending their territory; that is a part of nature. But we can do something about human-caused panther mortalities.”

“People who slow down and drive carefully in rural areas, especially where panther crossings are identified, can make a difference in conservation of this endangered species. It is especially important to slow down and keep a careful lookout at dawn or dusk, when panthers are most likely to be on the move,” Frohlich said.

The FWC continues to work with many partners to conserve and increase habitat available to panthers on both public and private lands. This is a critical step to ensuring the survival of panthers, the official state animal of Florida.

People are encouraged to report sightings of an injured or dead panther by calling the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922) or #FWC or *FWC on a cell phone. Another option is texting Tip@MyFWC.com (standard usage fees may apply).

For more information on Florida panthers, go to www.floridapanthernet.org.

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  • by Anonymous on Jan 13, 2012 at 12:41 PM
    People drive with their head up their kazoo and a cell phone glued to their ear. If a poor critter like a bear or a panther gets in their way........well shame on them. Most humans could care less about anything outside their own tiny worlds
  • by Biologist on Jan 13, 2012 at 09:09 AM
    Top predators like the panthers need a wide territory to range in order to find food. This means the panthers have to cross roads frequently in order to get from one tiny 'safe' zone to the next. Thus, a higher chance for being struck by a car.
  • by Anonymous on Jan 13, 2012 at 06:33 AM
    I was just in Collier County over Christmas and it seemed like everyone pretty much did the speed limit or about 4-5 over. I didn't see many speed demons. Also, with so many red light cameras people didn't seem as crazy.
    • reply
      by jenny on Jan 13, 2012 at 10:29 AM in reply to
      you should run for office. or are you already in office? you are a good lier.
  • by Jason on Jan 13, 2012 at 06:26 AM
    Am I the only one that thinks that the FWC Panther count is really low? The numbers don't add up. Nine killed by vechicles in a year but there are only 100 in the state?!? Unless these panthers are prone to "occupy" protests in the street, nearly 10% of their population wouldn't be hit by cars annually. The reasonable explanation is that population is much larger than estimated. If you took the 10% car death rate and applied it to all the other critters there would be so much road kill you wouldn't be able to even see the road anymore. Just something to think about....
    • reply
      by Hunter/Gatherer on Jan 13, 2012 at 10:21 AM in reply to Jason
      Jason, are you then implying that there are plenty of panthers and we should be able to hunt them? Have gun, will kill.
  • by jr Location: tampa on Jan 12, 2012 at 09:56 PM
    i am suprized there any left with all the cars on the road in south florids.people drive so fast and dangerous.
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