Controversial policymaking has taken over the state of Florida. A new proposal wants Florida’s panther conservation to be rethought, as the drafters believe the current rules to be excessive and unmanageable. Naturally, voices have risen against this new policy. Let’s see the full story:
A wildlife commissioner from the state of Florida is also the one who is trying to make the state loosen its grip on panthers. This implies a downgrading of current laws so that people would be allowed to take panthers if these cats enter their property or get in the way of city building. When it is put this way, the story does seem quite revolting.
The cause of this action against panther protection policies is that a group of the biggest landowners in all of Florida have a plan to invest in and develop about 177,000 acres in the state’s Collier County. It may seem obvious by now, but the land is dead center in the habitat of the cats. And naturally, they want to bend the rules in order for them to be able to get rid of them, if the situation gets to that point.
The nearly 180 thousand acres would be used to build a brand new town, which initially was supposed to be called Big Cypress and is now awaiting a new name. The project would create a city big on mining, oil drilling, and agriculture. To make up for their intrusion into the home of panthers, they also drafted a plan of a preservation for the benefit of the big prowlers.
However, alongside the landowners seeking to build this city is also Liesa Priddy. Liesa Priddy is an Immokalee ranch owner and current commissioner for the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, a post to which she was appointed by Governor Rick Scott back in 2012.
You now see the problem. Liesa Priddy, from her position, has been asking for the panther policy to be reshaped. The new policy would let people take panthers. Remember that take is an umbrella term used in the Endangered Species Act. It means anything from being able to harass, hunt, pursue, harm, wound to kill, shoot, trap, capture, as well as collect. All these things would be permitted if one or more cats happen to get in the way of the builders or the owners.
A bundle of wildlife preservation agencies rose against this. Liesa Priddy stands accused of conflict of interest. However, there is indeed a problem with the panther population: they have gone from 20-30 cats to between 100 and 180. Put this along their shrinking of their habitat, and there are a lot of panthers in a very small area.
Bottom line: if the panthers are too few, there’s a problem, but if they get too many, there is another problem. A lot of ranch owners have already complained that they cannot take any action against panthers stealing their livestock.
Image source: terrain.org