Endangered Animals – Florida Panther

florida panther
The Florida panther is an endangered subspecies of cougar (Puma concolor) also known as the mountain lion, puma, and catamount; but in the southeastern United States it is exclusively known as the panther. It is a large, slender cat that lives in forests and swamps of southern Florida.

Florida panthers are tawny above and whitish below. The tip of the tail, back of the ears and parts of the face are highlighted with dark brown or black. Sexes look alike. Kittens exhibit distinct black spots on a buffy background until they are 9 to 12 months old.

Lengths and weights vary from 188 centimeters and 32 to 45 kilograms for females to 220 centimeters and 50 to 72 kilograms for males. They live within a range that includes the Big Cypress National Preserve, Everglades National Park, and the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge. In the 1970s, there were an estimated 20 Florida panthers in the wild but their numbers have increased to an estimated 100 to 160 as of 2011.

The Florida panther has two main predators, alligators and humans through poaching and wildlife control measures. Two causes of mortality for Florida panthers are automobile collisions and territorial aggression between panthers. However the biggest threat to the population as a whole is human development and population growth in Florida.

While young males wander over extremely large areas in search of an available territory, females occupy home ranges close to their mothers. For this reason, panthers are poor colonizers and expand their range slowly despite occurrences of males far away from the core population.

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