Fla. Panthers Rebound as Wildlife Service Offers Ranchers Payment Plan

"Lack of land for endangered puma has US officials preparing payment plan to ranchers, many of whom resent the cats."

"The endangered Florida panther, running out of room to prowl as its numbers rebound, may find its best chance at survival is a program to pay distrustful ranchers to protect what remains of its habitat.

The payment plan proposed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service has never been tried before on a large scale with a wide-ranging predator, officials say.

Landowners could receive $22 per acre to maintain the cattle pastures and wooded scrub increasingly critical as panther terrain.

A growing number of panthers are hemmed into a shrinking corner of south-west Florida, where their ability to roam is threatened by ever expanding subdivisions and highways."

Letitia Stein reports for Reuters July 5, 2014.

Source: Reuters, 07/07/2014