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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Friday, May 25, 2012

Intraspecific strife in Puma populations is normal and in non-stressed populations the way that male "cats" defend their territories against all males who seek to intrude..........Male Pumas will also kill the offspring of another male to bring a resident female into heat so as to sire young of his own..............The bottom line that this is the nature of Pumas...........Problems arise in constricted habiats like in Southern Florida and the Los Angeles Basin where Pumas do not have enough room to roam.........Dispersing young males cannot find enough vacant territory to create their own home range and end up getting killed in fights with the dominant resident male...............Florida just experienced two intraspecific deaths and along with the other 9 Pumas killed this year, the Florida population could see more than the 25 Pumas killed in 2011.............We urge the USFW folks to expand Puma critcal habitat as the original florida restoration plan calls for

Florida panther-on-panther deaths take toll


The rapid pace of panther injuries and deaths so far this year has wildlife officials concerned about the 160 that remain in the wild.
Lowry Park Zoo
The rapid pace of panther injuries and deaths so far this year has wildlife officials concerned about the 160 that remain in the wild.
By Christine Stapleton
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

The death of three rare Florida panthers in six days brings the endangered cat's death toll this year to 12 - a pace that has wildlife officials concerned about the fewer than 160 remaining in the wild.
"We're not pushing the panic button just yet," said Dave Onorato, a panther biologist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. "Obviously if this keeps up for a couple more weeks we will be a lot more concerned."

Two of the three cats found this week - young males - died in fights with other panthers, according to commission reports. A third cat, also a young male, was found on the side of the road in Lee County on Wednesday after it was hit by a vehicle.

Spikes in panther deaths are not unheard of and can be followed by weeks and months with no fatalities, Onorato said. However, the nature of the recent deaths is a concern.

Last year the leading cause of death among the 25 reported panther deaths was traffic accidents. However, this year, "intra-species aggression" - panther vs. panther - is proving to be just as lethal. Of the 12 deaths this year, five were caused by vehicle, five by other panthers and two died of unknown causes.

Florida female Puma with her cub

The fatal, cat-on-cat fights are caused by territorial disputes and could be a sign that the far-roaming predatory cats are not able to find adequate space. Males typically need 160 to 200 square miles. The home range for females is between 60 and 75 square miles.

"If panthers are getting to the point of filling up their habitat, you'd expect the population to regulate itself," Onorato said. "That's the theory." This year's record-setting death rate grabbed headlines in April, when a volunteer with the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge spotted an injured panther kitten on a road in Collier County. Rescuers immediately took the then 12-week-old male kitten to an animal hospital in Naples.

Veterinarians found no major fractures or significant internal injuries but believe the kitten sustained brain damage. The kitten is unable to make purposeful movements and cannot eat on his own. His vision is also questionable and it is unlikely he can be returned to the wild. Another panther kitten, believed to be the brother, was killed by vehicle in early April.

There was some good news for panthers this week. On Tuesday a partnership of state and federal agencies, nonprofit conservation groups and Wal-Mart announced the purchase of a 1,278-acre wildlife corridor along the Caloosahatchee River in Glades County for panther habitat. The hope is that the panthers will migrate north from their native habitat in the heavily developed areas of Southwestern Florida to the less developed central parts of the state.

Sadly, the dead panther discovered on Wednesday was found on the same road that cuts through the new wildlife corridor announced on Tuesday.

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