Florida Wildlife Corridor
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Florida Wildlife Corridor: Protecting Florida Panther

Florida Wildlife Corridor: Protecting Florida Panther


Florida panthers, a federally Endangered Species, are exceeding the carrying capacity of the protected habitat in South Florida requiring the establishment and protection of Wldlife Corridors.   

In the 80s and 90s, Florida panthers were reduced in number to less than 50 cats. Introduction of new Texas panthers offered genetic salvation in 1995. The population is now at 250 but remains vulnerable because of highway mortality and the inability to move between suitable habitats. If they remain isolated, the inbreeding that will occur will diminish the ability to thrive. To move from the Endangered Species list, three populations of more than 250 cats are required.  

Palm Beach Zoo has been collaborating with Carlton Ward, Jr., Path of the Panther, and the Florida Wildlife Corridor Foundation since 2014. In 2019, one clear outcome is a landmark legislation with bipartisan support from the Florida legislature that recognized the need for Wildlife Corridors in Florida. Spearheaded by Carlton Ward, Jr., the story created through images and data supported by Palm Beach Zoo and field staff was paramount to garnering the needed votes. Not only did the camera traps capture key evidence of the panther movements but also created national interest in the panther situation through films produced by National Geographic and Carlton Ward, Jr.  

Public awareness of the need to support corridor legislation including funding appropriations to fund the purchase, protection and or restoration of key corridor junctures. Palm Beach Zoo plays an important role both in funding and directly in the field collecting compelling and important data and images to be used to inform the public and inspire a move to action. In addition to providing support to our partners, we have designed and built an experience at the Zoo to bring this project to the pathways to engage our Zoo visitors. 

Palm Beach Zoo funds a full-time field position for Path of the Panther project as well as augmenting fieldwork throughout the state of Florida by a diversity of Palm Beach Zoo staff with the needed expertise working with technology and field conditions.  

For more information on the Florida Wildlife Corridor, please visit them online.