Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Sierra Club says Trump Administration's Panther population estimates are inflated

The Trump Administration's Fish and Wildlife Service
is reviewing the status of the Florida Panther.
The Trump Administration's U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is reviewing whether or not to keep the Florida Panther's endangered status under the Endangered Species Act. But Sierra Club attorneys say the government's flawed population estimates are far too high.

Many developers and ranchers want the big cat taken off the endangered list.

The Florida Panther has been on the federal endangered list since the list began in 1967. There were only 20-30 panthers in the mid-1990s, when Texas cougars were brought in to mate.

Sierra Club in comments said the best available scientific information shows that the Panther population was at most 139 in 2015. It also says the U.S. Fish and Wildlife's estimate of up to 230 panthers is based on incorrect methodology and according to the best available scientific information, there is only one panther population, not the two required for downlisting. Meanwhile, in 2015 and 2016, 84 were killed, mostly on roads. So far, 22 panthers have died this year, 17 by vehicles.

The Sierra Club's official comments  detailing why the Florida Panther should not be downlisted can be read here.

Here are four reasons why we must continue to classify the Florida Panther as endangered:

1.     The size and distribution of the Florida panther population is insufficient to downlist the status of the subspecies to threatened.

2.   Vehicle collisions are a major threat to the Florida panther population.

3.   The effects of continued habitat loss and fragmentation are even more severe than previously acknowledged.

4.   Research indicates that crowding due to habitat limitations may be reducing kitten survival and placing a limit on population growth

Further reading: