Saturday 4 July 2009

Conspiracy to Eradicate the Florida Panther

florida panther This is fanciful, maybe. Extreme and ridiculous possibly, but could there be a conspiracy to eradicate the Florida panther to make way for that holy grail of business profit, property development?

The Florida panther AKA Florida cougar or just plain old mountain lion (as it is not a sub species) stands firmly in the path of economic progress and has done so throughout its entire existence. And there is circumstantial evidence that supports the supposition that there is a conspiracy to eradicate the Florida panther.

Take the recent killing of a young breeding female, for instance. The story was released in about 11th June 2009 but the shooting took place in April 2009. The female was about to breed precious new cougars. There are less than one hundred so each one counts and this one loss represents 2% of all Florida panther females. The police seem to be taking it seriously but have made little progress. The shooting happened in Hendry County, very close to the Big Cypress National Preserve –see below:

Map picture

The Florida panther is Florida’s official state animal and shooting it has been illegal since 1958. Despite that people still shoot it (8 have been shot, 6 fatally). But there have been only two prosecutions and of those two the most severe sentence was probation!
As development pressure grows the pressure to get rid of the cougar grows too. There is circumstantial evidence that points to the fact that this latest killing may be a “contract killing”. Circumstantial evidence of the hidden war against the cougar is:
  1. the massively flawed reports on conservation that were produced over a long period of time and which skewed decisions by the authorities to allow development on cougar habitat
  2. the appointment, recently, of Sam Hamilton as the head of the South-eastern Region of the FWS. He has a relatively poor track record of enforcing the Endangered Species Act 1973 and seems to make decisions that favour commercial development
  3. a large percentage of scientists at the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) claimed to be pressured into modifying reports to favour business development.
  4. the continued development of protected habitat in Florida (see more on the above here: Florida Panther)
  5. in respect of this last shooting the cat did not wear a radio collar so tracking the last steps is impossible (comment: with under 1oo to care for I would have thought each one would wear a collar or was it wearing one and was it was removed?)
  6. wildlife officials (managed ultimately by Sam Hamilton, the head) won’t release any details – I thought they are a public body serving the public under which transparency would or should be obligatory.
chart showing Florida panthers killed in 2009

If it is not the bullet it is the car – see chart above (src: Probably the biggest threat is traffic, which has expanded significantly with rampant road building. Lets not forget that Florida is one of the most desirable places to live on the planet. And we know people cannot live in harmony with the mountain lion. Something has to give and it won't be us. I allege that there could be a conspiracy to eradicate the Florida panther that is behind this latest shooting.

From Conspiracy to Eradicate the Florida Panther to Florida Panther

More on the Puma:

Photo of Florida panther at Flamingo Gardens in Fort Lauderdale, Florida : published under a Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs creative commons License -- this site is for charitable purposes in funding cat rescue and conservation.


  1. It seems a little irresponsible to create a conspiracy theory that the Florida Panther is being eradicated. I have a remote cabin in the Big Cypress National Preserve and my experience is that there are more panthers now then there has been in the last 30 years. They have basically eaten most of their food source in the big cypress and need to expand their range to survive in the numbers that exist today. That brings them into conflict with people and developers. You are right in that loss of habitat is a problem because they are expanding into new habitat and the existing habitat will not support the numbers that exist. The biggest killer of panthers is themselves in fraticide, followed by automobiles, being shot, way down on the list. If there was a conspiracy the shot panther would never have been found, so please be a little more responsible about these kind of statements.

  2. Hi, thanks for the comment. I don't think I have been irresponsible. I may have been provocative but that is what blogs are all about and I do admit this.

    There is no point writing bland repetitive stuff on a blog. I present the signs and I make an "allegation" that it could be possible. It makes sense too. And there is actual loss of existing habitat not just the cat roaming into new habitat.

    I am sure a large number of people want rid of this obstacle. It must be a thorn in the flesh of developers but equally there are many who appreciate the Florida panther. It is just that the ones who want rid of it are more motivated.

  3. Hello Freddie or Michael-I just want to let you know that I posted your conspiracy article on CARE2 as a compliment to your approach to the issue.

    I hoped you would take it as a compliment. I should have asked you for this article (which I consider to be highly thought out and well done) but I got interrupted from that and then tried to post a comment and it would not go through.

    I meant you no harm-my life has been up in the air lately and I have had an accident a little while ago that has required massive changes in it. I do apologize and meant it, as I say, only as a compliment.

    It was well received and seems to connect with the union of scientists article about the Eller scandal. Sometimes we in CARE do things impulsively.

    I belong to a Florida panther group and we have been monitoring the ongoing events with the loss of these cats. There does seem to be more to it.

    I found your theories very interesting and well-substantiated. Aside from this I know the workings of wildlife officials and politicians and developers in Florida-particularly south Florida-and they are not beyond any means to control their interests.

    As I say I meant no harm and I was wrong and once again-I apologize.

  4. In addition-I want to tell you that I will never post anything more from your site although I find it insightful and highly intelligent. When we post to CARE these are quick things that we try to get in and I have been terribly squeezed for time considering I was just struck in the back several times. My pain meds are not helping either. I do hope you know I appreciate your work.


Your comments are always welcome.

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