Fearless panther whisked away to new home

 

 

(Note: Other nearby areas, where homeowners and landowners have seen their livestock and pets mangled, mutilated and killed by panthers, do not have the cooperation of these federal and state agencies. They continue to have to try to live with the onslaught of "reintroduced" panthers, fresh from Texas -- and in no way different from the Lone Star cats from whence they originated.)

 

June 2, 2004

 

By Pamela Smith Hayford [email protected]

 

The News-Press

 

Ft. Myers, Florida

 

 

To submit a Letter to the Editor: [email protected]

 

A tawny young panther showing no fear of people and frequenting a sacred tribal site in the heart of the Everglades now lives in a remote part of Hendry County called Okaloacoochee Slough State Forest.

 

The cat was one of three repeatedly spotted on lands belonging to the Miccosukee Tribe of Florida and in the small town of Pinecrest between Big Cypress National Preserve and Everglades National Park.

Unlike most Florida panthers, these cats -- a mother and 2-year-old kittens -- didn't run at the sight of people.

State and federal panther experts twice treed the cats, collared them and vaccinated them -- even pelted them with harmless slingshot pellets -- in an attempt to teach them to fear people.

The scare tactics appeared to be working, state biologists said.

But the male kitten kept returning to a sacred ceremonial site used by the Miccosukee for the annual Green Corn Dance.

At least one woman said she would not attend the religious ceremony out of fear of the panther, and the tribe demanded the cats be removed.

We decided to move the cat because of the fear it has generated among the Miccosukees and out of respect for their sacred ceremony, said Ken Haddad, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission executive director, in a written statement.

FWC, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the National Park Service said the cat was not a threat, but they couldn't guarantee the panther wouldn't show up at the ceremony, because the site was an upland ridge among wetlands.

We want to make it clear that we did not set a precedent here, said FWC spokesman Henry Cabbage. [emphasis added]

On Friday, wildlife biologists captured the male panther and moved it to a new home in the Okaloacoochee, commonly known as OK Slough, about 60 miles northwest of his old home.

The slough is a public swath of land east of Felda and southeast of LaBelle. Part of it extends into Collier County.

Scientists can't be sure the cat won't return to its old digs -- like a lost dog -- but they said they are confident it won't.

We've been monitoring his movements and hes pretty much hung tight where we moved him, said Thomas Eason, chief of the FWC Bureau of Wildlife Diversity Conservation.

Sidebar:

Panther "Facts" [Important Note: "Facts" is in quotes because the "Florida" panther is genetically IDENTICAL to panthers that are found -- and are NOT "endangered" -- from Central America to many U.S. states. Imagine how many of these federal and state employees would be looking for jobs in 'the real world' if the "facts" about many "endangered species" were to get out to the public! These predators are NOT overgrown house cats, and they DO and WILL eat people, especially children. They do not differentiate between a 35-pound child and a 35-pound mammal like a goat or dog. The "facts" given here are nothing if not suspect.]

Scientific name: Puma concolor coryi

Eighty to 100 Florida panthers live in South Florida

A male panther needs a home range of about 200 square miles, a female about 75 square miles.

Panthers eat only meat: deer, feral hogs, raccoons, armadillos [GOATS, and the occasional PERSON]. On rare occasions, they'll dine on alligators.

Newborn kittens weigh just over a pound but grow up to weigh as much as 150 pounds as male adults, and 100 pounds as females.

The Florida panther is smaller than the cougars in the West and has longer legs, smaller feet and a shorter, darker coat.


"Source": Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service