FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 30, 1998
Diana M. Hawkins or
Vicki M. Boatwright

FLORIDA PANTHER RECOVERY PLAN TO BE REVISED --
PUBLIC INPUT SOUGHT

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking public input concerning the revision of the Florida Panther Recovery Plan. The purpose of the plan is to boost the cat's population to the point where it becomes self-sustaining. Recovery plans are revised periodically to incorporate new information and to reflect new or modified recovery strategies and tasks. The Florida panther was placed on the Federal endangered species list in March 1967, and is one of the world's most endangered large mammals.

The Florida panther historically ranged throughout most of the southeastern United States. Its present range, however, has been reduced to a single wild population estimated to number between 30-50 adults. This population occupies habitats contained within approximately two million acres of public and privately-owned lands in South Florida.

Threats to the panther are generally related to habitat conditions and demographic and genetic factors associated with population isolation, reduction and inbreeding. Habitat-related factors include availability, modification, fragmentation, destruction, contamination, and the types and levels of human activity.

According to the Service's Southeast Regional Director, Sam Hamilton, the Service has appointed a recovery team to guide the revision process. The Service solicits public input on potential recovery actions deemed appropriate for inclusion in the revised plan. The public may submit written input to the recovery team and will have the opportunity to review and comment on the draft revised plan after it is developed. "It is very important for us to know what the public thinks regarding our approach to recovering this species," Hamilton said.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting, and enhancing fish and wildlife and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. Nationwide, the Service manages 511 national wildlife refuges covering 92 million acres, as well as 67 national fish hatcheries.

The agency enforces Federal wildlife laws, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, administers the Endangered Species Act, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes Federal excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state wildlife agencies. This program is a cornerstone of the Nation's wildlife management efforts, funding fish and wildlife restoration, boating access, hunter education, shooting ranges, and related projects across America.

Written input regarding suggested recovery actions or tasks should be submitted to: Dennis B. Jordan, Recovery Team Leader, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 110450, Gainesville, Florida 32611-0450 or via electronic mail to: Dennis_Jordan@fws.gov, by March 02, 1998. For further information contact Dennis Jordan by telephone at 352/846-0546.

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Release #: R98-007


1998 News Releases

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