Saturday, May 12, 2007

Flat Cats

A recent article in the Naples News detailed the death of the 8th Florida Panther this year. It was suggested that at this pace the cats were set to "demolish" last year's record of 11 road kills for the year.

The 3 year old cat was hit 10 miles east of the National Park. CLICK HERE for my custom map of every Florida Panther fatality since 1972. You can see that the only two of the Florida Panthers have been hit in the area that this one was hit on Tuesday. The suggestion is that there are more panthers and they have needed to expand their range. (Probably slightly true) This concerns people. Imagine Florida Panthers in your backyard! (One had "menaced" a goat farm...not the same goat farm i visited though). It should be noted that there have been 16 fatalities caused by (Pumas, Cougars, Mountain Lions) since 1890 in the US and Canada combined! There are an average of 6 attacks on humans a year across this range and there have never been attacks in Florida in this time.

What people are not considering is that we are in the midst of one of our worst droughts ever in Florida. No water means the cats need to follow their food source. Deer, pigs, armadillo seek out water too and where they go, the cats may follow. There is simply not enough water out there. Combine the lack of water with the serious fire situation, we have fires popping up every day across Florida and already over 40,000 acres of Everglades have burned. So is it possible that lack of water, fire and food is pushing the cats out of the dried up swamps?

With 6 million people in southern Florida now, it must be difficult for the cats to not come into contact with humans. And amazingly it's still rare. But sadly, like shark and alligator attacks, the media sensationalizes stories and the sheep that humans tend to be take the bait. If only they would stop and consider, but I guess everything the media says is true.....

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