The first pilot program, the Free-Ranging Cattle Compensation Program, is designed to help compensate small farms when their free-ranging animals – typically calves – are lost to panthers. Due to limited resources for the pilot program, priority for compensation assistance will focus on smaller, family-owned and operated farms where the financial loss of animals is less easily absorbed. Depredation losses verified subsequent to October 2010 will be considered through the pilot program providing that the loss was investigated and verified by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
The second pilot program, the Pen Building Assistance Program, will provide compensation funds to assist landowners who wish to build a predator-resistant pen to protect their livestock and pets from potential loss due to the Florida panther. This program will provide 50 percent reimbursement, up to $250, for the cost of materials required for a predator-proof pen for those who have already experienced a verified loss from a Florida panther.
“Intensified development outside of urbanized areas has increased the potential for interactions between livestock and pets and the Florida panther,” according to Conservancy of Southwest Florida President Andrew McElwaine. “Although panthers prefer deer and hogs, they may occasionally prey on calves in free-ranging cattle operations.”
“Protecting Florida panther habitat is important to sustaining Florida’s fragile ecological balance,” says Amber Crooks, Conservancy of Southwest Florida natural resources specialist. “We hope this program encourages coexistence between landowners and wildlife.”
For more information about the Florida Panther Pilot Compensation Program, visit www.conservancy.org/pilot or call (239) 262-0304, ext. 286
More about the Conservancy of Southwest Florida Panther Pilot Compensation Programs
1. Free-Ranging Cattle Compensation Program
- Designed to provide financial compensation to those who have lost free-ranging cattle due to a verified Florida panther incident.
- Due to limited resources, small, family-owned and operated farms – typically with less than 100 head of cattle – will receive top priority for compensation.
- Dependent on available funding, any livestock loss will be compensated providing that the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has investigated the incident and determined the loss was caused by a Florida panther.
- Depredation losses verified subsequent to October 2010 will be considered through the pilot program.
- The Conservancy of Southwest Florida Panther Depredation Pilot program may compensate each owner for up to $500.
- The compensation level has been determined based on the annual average price for feeder calves in Florida and is subject to change.
- Compensation may be adjusted under certain conditions, at the discretion of the Conservancy of Southwest Florida.
- Compensation for other types of free-ranging domestic animals will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
2. Pen Building Assistance Program
- A one-year program pilot offered by the Conservancy of Southwest Florida will provide financial assistance for homeowners who build protective pens.
- A typical protective pen is composed of chain-link fencing, a roof and is 20 feet by 10 feet and about 6 feet tall.
- This program offers financial assistance to property owners to construct panther-proof pens.
- Priority is given to those who have been most affected by a verified loss of a pet or livestock by a Florida panther.
- To qualify, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission must have investigated the incident and determined the loss occurred from a Florida panther.
- Materials to construct a typical protection pen are estimated at $500.
- The Conservancy Panther Pilot Compensation Program would provide 50 percent reimbursement, up to $250, for the cost of the materials required for construction of a predator-proof pen.
3. How to Apply
- Submit the following information to begin the approval process to receive compensation from the Conservancy of Southwest Florida Panther Pilot Compensation Program.
- Your contact information, including name, physical address, email address and phone number.
- A copy of the “Florida Panther Response Plan Investigation Report” and any other relevant written communication you have received about the depredation incident from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
- If applying for the Free-Ranging Cattle Compensation Program, information to support the size and type of your operation – such as acreage, owner/operators of the farm, cattle inventory, etc.
- We may also ask for additional information, such as County permitting, if required for pen building, to process your claim.
- Send your request to: Conservancy of Southwest Florida, Panther Pilot Program, 1450 Merrihue Dr., Naples, FL 34102.
- Call 239.262.0304, ext. 286 if you need additional information or have questions about the application process.
- Please call the above phone number within ten business days after submitting your request to ensure we have received your information
- Application forms will soon be available at www.conservancy.org/pilot
About the Conservancy of Southwest Florida:
The Conservancy of Southwest Florida began in 1964 when community leaders came together to defeat a proposed “Road to Nowhere” and spearheaded the acquisition and protection of Rookery Bay. The Conservancy is a not-for-profit grassroots organization focused on the critical environmental issues of the Southwest Florida region with a mission to protect the region’s water, land and wildlife. This is accomplished through the combined efforts of environmental education, science and research, policy and advocacy and wildlife rehabilitation. The Wildlife Rehabilitation Clinic treats more than 2,400 injured, sick and orphaned animals each year and releases about half of them back into their native habitats. The Conservancy of Southwest Florida and Nature Center is located in Naples, Fla. at 1450 Merrihue Dr., off Goodlette-Frank Road at 14th Avenue North. For information about the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, call 239-262-0304 or visit www.conservancy.org.