Friday, 26 June 2015

Fading Florida Panthers Need New Paths to Safety

Michael Sainato | June 25, 2015 04:43pm ET

Michael Sainato is a freelancer with credits including the Miami Herald, Huffington Post and The Hill. Follow him on Twitter at @msainat1. Sainato contributed this article to Live Science's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.

A vanishing and elusive relic of nature, the cougar subspecies known as the Florida panther has been flirting with extinction in a dwindling wilderness for a century. With a habitat degraded to less than five percent of its historical range — veritable isolation in south Florida — wildlife conservationists estimate the panthers currently number between 100 and 200 individuals. With such a small population, experts believe the animal cannot maintain genetic diversity and survive.

For Florida panthers to expand their numbers, they need an expanded range, and as of this May, a corridor of protected lands are now linked, providing that needed space.

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