Federation Decries Killing of Florida Panther

Date 05/22/2012

        Golden Gate Estates is a partially developed area in southwest Florida’s Collier County, which now provides vital habitat for one of the most endangered large cats left on the planet: the Florida panther. Over the last fifty years, the state and federal government, and her taxpayers, have spent millions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of hours in a valiant attempt to save this symbol of natural Florida. The panther is also the apex animal predator, and is the keystone to ecological health in the region. It is estimated that the panther, once enjoying a thriving population throughout the Deep South, and now relegated it southwest Florida, numbers approximately 120 individuals.
        Unfortunately, all of this good work falls flat in the face of the amoral and the unethical. A 45-year old man was recently found guilty of killing a panther with a bow and arrow in Golden Gate Estates. He killed the panther and hid the carcass. Due to good investigative work from law enforcement, the perpetrator was apprehended. He faces fines, a jail sentence and a term of probation concurrent with the loss of his hunting privileges.
        The Florida Wildlife Federation was founded by hunters and we support this activity and all outdoor recreation so as to get Floridians into the woods and onto the waters. We want them to become stewards of what remains of our natural areas. We do not support, and wholeheartedly condemn, any unethical activity which takes our natural resources in violation of our laws, FWC rules or ethics. The man who killed this panther has given a black eye to all hunters by affording the public, the vast majority of which do not hunt, the impression that hunters are uncaring slobs. He has also dealt a blow to the millions of Floridians who love the panther, buy panther license plates, and especially the school children in Collier County who take part in the Panther Posse program, which seeks to educate youngsters about this rare native species. 
        To kill a panther should mean a life-long suspension of hunting and fishing licenses and a fine commensurate with the loss to society, say $100,000. We must make it patently clear that game law violators will no longer be tolerated. Shame on this poacher.           

Tags: Panther,

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