The federal government is reviewing the status of the endangered Florida Panther, prompting some activists to worry the iconic species will lose protection.
But the Florida Wildlife Federation says it’s too early to sound the alarm.
Veteran field representative Nancy Payton says she has faith in the federal biologist performing the study.
“There are people that are promoting de-listing the panther. I think in some cases they want to put the panther back into the 1950s and classify it as a varmit. That is not going to happen.”
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reviews the status of endangered and threatened species every five years. Some biologists argue there is no Florida panther due to cross-breeding with Texas cougars. That helped boost the official Florida Panther population from between 20 and 30 to the current 200.