Jun 17, 2022 - News

New study reveals sign of rebound for Florida panthers

A panther in South Florida captured by wildlife cameras.
A panther in South Florida captured by wildlife cameras used in a new University of Georgia study. Photo courtesy UGA Warnell Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources

Florida panthers are now the No. 1 cause of death for white-tailed deer in Southwest Florida, according to a new study from the University of Georgia.

🦌 Why it matters: That's bad news the for deer, but great news for the health of the endangered panther population, indicating a rebound.

  • White-tailed deer are a key prey species for the Florida panther, and also the most popular game species in the state. Hunting regulations have helped the population replenish.

Flashback: In the 1990s, few deer were killed by panthers. Deer were killed mostly by bobcats and hunters.

πŸ† By the numbers: Of the 241 deer captured and fitted with GPS collars during the study, 96 were killed by Florida panthers.

  • Only seven were killed by bobcats, and just one was harvested by hunters.

Between the lines: The study speaks to the difficulty in balancing hunting while keeping the white-tail deer population healthy enough to provide prey for panthers.

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