Target: Daniel M. Ashe, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Goal: Don’t allow new development in areas that will harm the Florida panther.
Nine developers have asked the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for an exemption from the Endangered Species Act so they can build on land adjacent to the Florida Panther Wildlife Refuge. This land is one of the main breeding areas for Florida panthers, and building there could harm the already extremely endangered animal. As development has boomed across Florida, the state’s native panthers have experienced a sharp decline in their population. Many of these deaths are directly attributed to human causes. In 2016, 34 of the 42 panthers who died were road kills. There have also been instances of panthers being injured and killed by hunters.
Many animal advocates worry that the Florida panther population will keep declining as the Florida Wildlife Commission chips away at important protections. This commission, which is made up of hunters and land developers, has said that they believe that the panther population is too large for Florida and cannot be managed. One of the commissioners is also part of the group who asked the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the Endangered Species Act exemption, showing that they have a personal stake in lessening protection on Florida panthers.
With just 160 Florida panthers left in the world, the animals need all the protection they can get to prevent them from going extinct. If the FWS allows the developers to build in the animals’ territory, it could be disastrous for the few remaining Florida panthers. Sign this petition to urge the FWS to not give the developers a permit to build new homes and roads in the panthers’ territory.
Dear Director Ashe,
I’m writing to ask you not to grant an incidental take permit to the nine developers who want to build in areas that the Florida panthers use as breeding grounds. If these developers are given an exemption from the Endangered Species Act, they could severely harm the few remaining Florida panthers. New roads could lead to increased road kills, and there could also be more hostile interactions between land owners and Florida panthers.
There are only 160 Florida panthers left in the world, and any development on their habitat could be a disaster for these extremely endangered animals. To save these panthers from disappearing altogether, please do not allow developers to build on areas that Florida Panthers call home.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service