The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) at its meeting June 23 in Sarasota discussed a draft position paper outlining strategic priorities for panther conservation.
The Commissioners agreed that the Florida panther is a conservation success story but acknowledged that with this success comes new challenges.
The draft paper presented at the meeting calls for focusing strong conservation efforts on the panther’s core range in south Florida, effective ways to address human-panther conflicts, and building support among private landowners whose properties provide essential panther habitat.
“This position paper does not call for a changeto the panther’s protected status. It’s intended to help us consider the next steps in this tremendous success,” said Commissioner Liesa Priddy.
After hearing substantial public testimony, FWC Commissioners agreed to provide additional input to staff to finalize the draft position paper for further consideration.
The FWC also continues to place emphasis on assisting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in updating the federal panther recovery plan to better reflect current knowledge of panthers and set more realistic and meaningful conservation objectives and criteria. The draft panther position paper is available by going to MyFWC.com/Commission and clicking on “Commission Meetings” then “Agenda” for this meeting.