Buchanan Fights to Save Florida Panther
Endangered Animal Needs a "Safe Habitat" To Survive
WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep Vern Buchanan, R-FL, noting yet another panther death in southwest Florida, today called on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to designate a “critical habitat” for the endangered animal. Wildlife officials said last week a 1-year-old Florida panther was killed by a vehicle, raising to 30 the number of automobile-related deaths in 2015.
The Florida panther remains one of the most endangered mammals on earth, with fewer than 180 big cats alive today. The breeding population of Florida panthers is found only in the southern tip of the state.
“Each year, the Florida panther population continues to shrink in size as more big cats are hit and killed by cars because they lack a safe habitat,” Buchanan said. “Although these panthers are protected under the federal Endangered Species Act, they face extinction because they have no protected area to live and repopulate.”
Earlier this month Buchanan and several other Florida congressmen sent a letter to President Obama requesting a safe habitat for the Florida panther. The letter highlighted the need for a safe environment that would preserve valuable environmental resources, such as wetlands, aquifer-recharge areas, drinking water supplies.
“We should not stand by and do nothing as yet another endangered species is wiped off the earth,” Buchanan said. “We don’t get a second chance once a species becomes extinct.”
The panther was one of the original 14 mammals named to the endangered species list in 1967, but a critical habitat has never been established, even though one is required by the Endangered Species Act.
Buchanan is a longtime advocate of the Endangered Species Act and has been recognized as a “legislative leader” by the U.S. Humane Society for his record on animal welfare issues.