Wednesday, May 31, 2017

by J.E. Rogers 

I have been away for the past two weeks, and I’m about to give you a hint as to where I have been. I spent my time on the west coast of Florida, north of Tampa. There’s a lot of land there, and both and I wondered about the wildlife that might be wandering in the acreage along the main roads. Then I thought about Florida’s critically endangered Panther, which is a subspecies of the Puma. I saw one while visiting Big Cat Rescue. They are beautiful.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Let’s first clear up the name of this critter. You may have referred to this small cat as a Mountain Lion, or puma, or cougar, or panther. It is known by more names than any other mammal. Its Latin name is Puma concolor, and is the largest of the small cat species. It is, however, the largest cat in the United States, and the fourth largest cat in the world. The adult female weighs 64 to 100 pounds, whereas the male will weigh from 100 to 159 pounds. Males grow at a faster rate than females and continue to grow for a longer period of time (Wikipedia). Proportionately, panthers have the largest hind legs of any of the wild cats. This muscular hindquarter allows them to leap up to 15 feet vertically and 45 feet horizontally.

Photo Credit: Michaelstone428 (Wikipedia)

According to an article I read on the Defenders of Wildlife website, the Florida Panther is in serious trouble with only 180 left in the wild. This makes the Florida Panther one of the most endangered mammals on the planet. Although the Florida Panther once roamed the woodlands and swamps of the southeastern U.S., they are now confined to an area in southern Florida.

Photo credit: Wikipedia

I read that cars are the panther’s biggest problem and there is a movement which is attempting to provide safe passage across roads and highways. It is also important to note that like many other endangered animals, habitat destruction is the biggest cause of diminution populations. The Florida Panther needs space to survive. The only natural predator is the American Alligator.

Below is a video about the current Florida Panther situation produced by the Nature Conservancy.

To learn more about the Florida Panther, visit the following sites.

Big Cat Rescue, Tampa, Florida:

The Nature Conservancy has a website dedicated to helping the Florida Panther survive. You can visit them here:

Jeanne E. Rogers, Award Winning Author
The Sword of Demelza, The Gift of Sunderland and
One Hot Mess, A Child’s Environmental Fable
Where Endangered Animal Heroes Roam the Pages!

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Kohana, A Native American Creation Myth 
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