Florida Panthers More Imperiled Than Ever!!

It is with a heavy heart that I write about the latest outrage that is conspiring against our beautiful Florida Panthers. There is a proposal called the Eastern Collier Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP for short) that sounds like it will be a good thing, right? Wrong-O!!

Collier County is home to some of the last remaining habitat for our panthers, as well as several other endangered species: the Wood Stork, Snail Kite, Crested Caracara, Indigo Snake, Bonneted Bat, Scrub Jay, and Red Cockaded Woodpecker.  These animals I just listed as well as all other animals living in a designated 45,000 acres of precious panther habitat will face mining, development, and even oil drilling or fracking if this “conservation” plan is eventually approved.

Not only could (will) there be all of that heinous activity in their home, but a mere TEN people want the right to obtain an ‘incidental take’ permit of these supposedly protected animals…this means they could harass and even kill these animals that are supposed to have the strongest protections for endangered animals in our country! I just do not understand how this could even be considered. I really don’t. I am so sad, and so very angry that some adults would even be considering a decision like that. I find it outrageous that these animals who have already faced such detriment at the hands of humans cannot take a priority over the greed of a very few humans.

Where exactly are the displaced panthers to go to?

Let’s say that a landowner “legally” kills a panther. (or even “just” takes away some habitat of a panther) We all know how limited the undeveloped habitat is for these creatures. It will not take long for another panther to move in and claim that territory. WHEN WILL THE KILLING STOP ONCE IT IS STARTED “LEGALLY?”

This link provides more information from the awesome Conservancy of Southwest Florida:

https://www.conservancy.org/our-work/policy/wildlife-and-habitat-protection/eastern-collier

There is a public meeting in Naples on April 12 and I will be there to add my voice to stand up for these animals and the habitat that they need. We cannot continue to take habitat away from panthers who have so little left to begin with. Starting to let some people harass or kill panthers is so disgusting that I cannot comprehend that it is actually being considered.

If you cannot attend the meeting, please consider emailing or mailing your opinion on the issue by April 24, 2016. Please, I implore you to help. The more people that speak out will help our creatures that need it the most.

Email: comments-eastcollierhcp@fws.gov
Mail: Comments-Eastern Collier HCP EIS
US Fish and Wildlife Service
South Florida Ecological Services Field Office
1339 20th St.
Vero Beach, FL 32960-3559

I love Florida Panthers SO MUCH and I will never stop fighting to help them no matter how much of a futile, uphill battle it seems to be.

~ Megan

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