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.
Thursday, July 31, 2014
Study blames lost calves on panthers
Since Florida's frontier days when cattlemen drove their herds through the state's vast fields and forests, ranchers and native panthers have been natural enemies.
The ranchers seek to nurture and protect their calves, while the panthers see them as prey.
Human development won the battle, driving the large, tawny cats to the brink of extinction before successful efforts to restore them began decades ago.
But with Florida's panther population recovering, some ranchers complain the protected 6-to-7-foot long predators are once again killing their calves.
Now, university research supports that claim, at least in one part of southwest Florida.
A University of Florida researcher hired by federal wildlife officials has found that panthers are killing calves in an area where the predatory felines are thriving. Her study, the first to quantify the kills and losses, was given to The Associated Press exclusively.
The research marks the first step toward the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service considering a program that would pay ranchers for preserving acres of panther habitat, instead of undertaking the impossible task of verifying every kill.
"Ranchers will tell you that they suspected panthers were killing their calves, although no one knows how many they're losing," said Caitlin Jacobs, the university researcher who staked out a ranch for the better part of two years. "It's hard to find the calves — when panthers kill they drag the prey into the forest and cover it with brush to hide them from scavengers."