Recently, the population of the Florida panther has declined so much that it has become apparent that the program for its conservation has begun to be implemented with a delay. Therefore, in order to save this subspecies from extinction, you will have to make a lot of efforts. In 1970, the US government banned tourists from visiting the swamps in the Everglades City area. In 1974, the American Congress protected a swamp, dubbed the Great Cypress Swamp, with an area of about 770 square miles.
In this reserve, not only the puma is protected, but also the local American mink, as well as fox squirrels living in mangroves, black storks and other species of birds and mammals. Soon, new areas were added to this site, on the territory of which the Florida Panther National Nature Reserve was founded. However, the mere creation of a reserve on a limited, albeit large enough in area, territory is not enough to preserve this species.
Many panthers die outside the reserve, die under the wheels of cars. To avoid this danger, it is necessary to limit the speed of movement of cars on certain sections of the road and build underpasses along which the Florida panthers could cross the road. Previously, the panther was a coveted hunting trophy, but today it is forbidden to hunt for it.
In 1986, the Florida Panther Conservation Committee was created, which included several conservation organizations. The workers of this committee are trying to improve the living conditions of the panthers and to protect the environment from human interference. As part of this strategy, these predators have been equipped with collars with built-in transmitters that allow them to accurately track their path. Until 1988, 23 animals were caught, in 1991, fourteen of them were alive. Experts believe that these cats can be released. For this, the animals will be released from reserves and national parks.
The Florida panther is a subspecies of the cougar that was previously one of the many carnivores throughout North America. Today, it is necessary to make great efforts to preserve this subspecies, since only a few dozen individuals remain in nature.
The Florida cougar was previously found in forested areas throughout the peninsula. Today, a few individuals live only in a few reserves isolated from each other. The ideal place for these animals to live is the wetlands, overgrown with trees. There they find the necessary prey and places to rest. Most of the area that is located near Everglades City is covered with swamps or rivers that do not have permanent banks and at certain times of the year overflow and flood the surrounding areas. In many places, the water level has dropped due to the draining of marshes and the construction of canals.
Reproduction of panthers
Florida panthers are solitary animals. Each adult cougar has its own plot. Males protect areas up to 200 square miles, while females have ample space, which can be as large as 70 square miles. The individual territories of individuals of different sexes often partially overlap. During the mating season, which lasts from October to April, adult males go in search of females. They have no permanent partners.
Females mate with several partners, and bloody fights often take place between males. The pregnancy of the female lasts about 90 days. There are usually two or three kittens in a panther litter, less often up to five kittens. Newborns are covered with gray hair with black spots. However, in half-year-old cubs, the spots on the wool have already disappeared.
Decrease in the number of panthers
By the end of the 19th century, panthers inhabited all of North America in large numbers, however, the development of civilization and the decrease in the number of biotopes suitable for their habitation led to the fact that in the 20th century the population began to decline sharply. Within a short time, man managed to displace this large cat from most of its habitat. At the same time, the number of animals that are the usual prey of this predator, that is, deer and wild pigs, was decreasing. This situation forced the panthers to start hunting domestic animals, primarily foals. In response, horse breeders and pastoralists began to shoot these predators. In addition, in the 30s and 40s of the 20th century, farmers shot hundreds of deer to prevent the spread of tick-borne disease. The source of food for the panther has been greatly reduced. Namely, the presence of a sufficient amount of large prey is one of the most important conditions for the preservation of the population of these representatives of the feline family. If Florida panthers find enough food, they will breed well. However, if they are forced to hunt small rodents, lizards and birds, then the population growth will decrease.