Animal rights and environmental groups are urging members to flood the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with pleas not to alter the Florida Panther’s “endangered” status.
Federal regulators are undergoing a periodic review of the iconic predator and August 14th is the last day for public comment.
The Humane Society’s Laura Bevan says some developers believe the Florida Panther no longer exists because of cross-breeding with Texas cougars.
“We want the Florida Panther recognized by that federal agency and we want the protections to be maintained and even increased.”
Official estimates put the Florida Panther population at 230, mostly in Southwest Florida, where development pressure is high.
But activists say deaths by car strikes are outpacing the birth rate.