With the holidays approaching, Sierra Club is thankful for all the hard work so many people put toward protecting the Florida Panther.
This last year has been a turbulent one, but so many good things have come out of the hard work that numerous volunteers and organizations have dedicated to protecting Florida's wild places.
Through the combined efforts of Sierra Club, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, the Stonecrab Alliance, Preserve our Paradise, and numerous volunteers, we were able to stop an exploratory oil well in panther habitat. The Dan A Hughes Company was kicked out of Florida, and their leases to 115,00 acres were rescinded.
Panther numbers are also officially up - from 160 as the maximum to 180 as the new current. Coming from an estimate of 20-30 individuals in the 1990's, this a great success toward the robustness of the panther population.
The Sierra Club, along with other environmental groups settled a litigation case involving secondary off-road vehicle trails in the Big Cypress National Preserve. One hundred and forty-six miles of disputed secondary trails have been closed in the Preserve, bringing the ORV trail system to within the limits of the 2000 ORV-Management Plan. The trails will remain closed until environmental impacts to panther and other endangered species can be completed.
Finally, the Sierra Club would like to thank all of its dedicated volunteers, who without their tireless work, these accomplishment wouldn't be possible. To all of those who attended rallies and press conferences, testified at County Commission hearings, who wrote to their elected officials and signed our petitions, and so much more - Thank You! You are the reason why we do what we do, and give the panther a fighting chance!
Remember this holiday season, to drive safely and slow down for panthers!