To recognize a commitment at the federal and state levels to protect a statewide corridor for the benefit of wildlife – particularly wide-ranging animals like the endangered Florida panther – the Conservancy of Southwest Florida has assembled resources that stakeholders, agencies, and the public can utilize to prioritize land acquisition and protection efforts. This information can also be used for the placement of large mammal structures at key points along roadways.
As an endangered species with as few as 120-230 Florida panthers remaining in the wild, vehicle strikes are the number one cause of known mortality. Every year, between 20 and 30 panthers are killed on Florida’s roadways. With hundreds of people moving to the state every day, continued development and roadway construction will increase this threat.
Underpass crossings and similar structures, properly sited and including fencing, have proven successful in reducing mortalities in key locations. It is essential to secure landscape-level connections because the Florida panther is a species with large home range requirements and recovery plan goals that support the need for the panther population to expand northward.
In order for the panther to survive and recover, connected corridors and safe passage at roadways must exist.
To learn more about the Conservancy’s recommendations for protecting panthers and other imperiled species, read our full report entitled, “Corridors and Crossings: Protecting the Florida Panther & Florida Wildlife Corridor.”