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Discrediting a Decade of Panther Science: Unsound Science and Poor Decisions Guide the Federal Government's Approach to the Florida Panther

  • John Kostyack, Karen Hill
  • Jan 22, 2004

The Florida panther is one of the most endangered mammals in the U.S., with less than 100 individuals living in the wild in south Florida. Population numbers have increased somewhat in recent years, thanks to the successful translocation of a related subspecies, the Texas cougar, into Florida to restore genetic diversity. But the primary threat to the survival of the panther is habitat loss and fragmentation, and this threat appears to be growing as development in southwest Florida sprawls eastward from the Gulf Coast.

This paper discusses the federal government’s use of unsound science in its decisions concerning the Florida panther, which has now been conclusively shown in the December 2003 report by the government-commissioned scientific Review Team. This paper also documents the extensive habitat loss that has resulted from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) failure to use sound science - science that could be found in its own recovery planning documents - for nearly a decade. It asks some tough questions, such as: how could an agency charged with protecting endangered wildlife go so far astray?

Learn more about the Florida Panther.

Discrediting a Decade of Panther Science

This paper discusses the federal government’s use of unsound science in its decisions concerning the Florida panther, which has now been conclusively shown in the December 2003 report by the government-commissioned scientific Review Team.

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