Issues of concern to people who live in the west: property rights, water rights, endangered species, livestock grazing, energy production, wilderness and western agriculture. Plus a few items on western history, western literature and the sport of rodeo... Frank DuBois served as the NM Secretary of Agriculture from 1988 to 2003. DuBois is a former legislative assistant to a U.S. Senator, a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Interior, and is the founder of the DuBois Rodeo Scholarship.
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
As panther population grows, so will territory
Florida's favorite big cat may be on the prowl, heading this way from its established haunts in the swamps and hammocks of the Everglades. The state agency that monitors wildlife says the population of Florida panthers is growing large enough to consider expanding its territory north from the million-acre refuge in South Florida into areas they roamed decades and, perhaps, centuries ago. So the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is examining potential Central Florida locations to establish suitable populations of big cats. There's a lot of work to be done before expansion takes place, including discussions with residents, farmers, ranchers and motorists about the habits of the panthers. Conservationists admit that finding space north of the expansive Everglades could be an issue. Biologists with the state and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service figure each adult male needs 200 square miles of territory in which to feel comfortable, so panthers may hunt beyond the preserves on private land. "Panther expansion northward is going to be, in large part, due to cooperation with private landowners," commission Chairman Kenneth Wright said during a meeting in Tampa last week. Jim Strickland, who owns a ranch near Duette Park, said he would love to see panthers in the wild and he expected someday the big cats would migrate north. However, panthers and cattle in the same area can only mean financial losses for the rancher, said Strickland, also a Florida Cattlemen's Association executive committee member. "If you're a rancher losing $20,000 a year, then, you are supplying that habitat for the expansion," he said. "There's nothing I like better than a good glass of orange juice in the morning but a panther would rather have a big piece of red meat."...more