The Florida Panther Society was established with the goal of reintroducing the magnificent panther back into its historic Florida range. Facing threats from habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation due to overdevelopment and an increasing human population, right now panthers are locked into a corner of South Florida, only occupying about 5 percent of their historic range. Returning them to North Florida is a crucial first step in their recovery — and in the path to reestablishing healthy Florida ecosystems that need these native predators in the food web.
The Center for Biological Diversity has been advocating for panther recovery and expanded panther habitat for years. That's why, as the Florida Panther Society wraps down operations, this important group has passed on its work to the Center. We held a symposium in 2014 to identify opportunities for collaboration on panther habitat expansion and reintroduction, and we've petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reintroduce panthers to North Florida and beyond, as well as to establish critical habitat. Over the years we've also undertaken many other actions to help these wild felines and the places they live, from petitioning to reintroduce them to the Okefenokee National Wildlife Preserve to curbing off-road vehicle traffic in their Big Cypress home.
The Center will bring our nearly a million supporters to the fight to recover Florida panthers. Our lawyers, scientists and activists are specialists at protecting endangered animals and plants — we've protected more than 550 species and 470 million acres of wild habitat. We have also opened a Southeast office — headquartered in Florida — and are expanding our staff to bring greater resources to bear in the fight to defend the panther.
Florida panthers are dying. At least 42 were killed in 2015 — 30 due to vehicle collisions alone — out of an estimated population of just 100 to 180. We need you to support the Center's panther work to help us protect these big cats. Please donate to the Center and become a member, sign up for our emails and newsletters, and check out the Center's panther webpage.
We're very happy to have you aboard, working with us to protect the Florida panther.