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To honor our incredible wildlife, Defenders has declared 2019 the Year of Coexistence. Over the course of the year, we'll highlight innovative ways people are sharing the landscape with wildlife.

March: Florida Panther

The Florida panther’s population is growing, and so is its range. A female panther was documented north of the Caloosahatchee River, with kittens in tow. Although males had occasionally swum across the river, not a single female had been documented that far north since the early 1970s. Hope has been revitalized for the state animal’s long-term recovery. Although the population has grown slowly over the years, the species is still highly vulnerable.

With Florida experiencing ever-increasing development that often places humans and panthers in proximity, the future of the panther depends upon our ability to coexist. There is simply not enough public land in south Florida to maintain even a single viable population. The species must expand its range and continue moving north into a land of ranches, people, and habitat fragmentation, where further conflict is all but inevitable.

Fortunately, we have several tools at our disposal to avoid and mitigate these conflicts.

  Stay Engaged By Following #YEAROFCOEXISTENCE

Panthers at a Crossroads: The Need for Coexistence

At the same time scientists are documenting panthers expanding their range, Florida has become the third most populous state in the country, bringing accelerating development and new roads.

Florida panther conflicts unfortunate, preventable

Christian Hunt discusses the expansion of the panther’s range and the need for conflict mitigation.

National Parks Traveler Podcast

Elizabeth Fleming discusses recovery of the Florida panther and coexistence on the National Parks Traveler Podcast. Her segment starts at 24:57.

Predator-Resistant Enclosures

Our Predator-Resistant Enclosure Program works with residents and small livestock owners to build and retrofit predator-resistant enclosures.

Video: Coexisting with the Florida Panther

Elizabeth Fleming, our Senior Representative Florida, explains why it's necessary to coexist with the Florida panther, and what efforts Defenders is involved in to protect and restore this endangered species.

Wildlife and Wild Places