If little else was learned by native species population experts it was that "you can't keep a good cat down" which is the lesson to developers, politicians and panther specialists this season as the Florida native panther is making a come back against all odds.
In 1995 the embattled Florida panther, cousin to the western mountain lion or puma, was on hard times with just 30 adults remaining in their once expansive open southeastern range. Biologists reasoned that because the panther once roamed from the western mountains through Texas, into the Louisiana Bayou and onto the Everglades there was a viable gene pool. They introduced Texas panthers to the beleaguered Florida range and in just ten years the population rebounded to a respectable, albeit, still fragile 87 individuals.
Seems the Texas cougar and the Florida panther cotton to one another and they're little offspring are super kittens which survive to adulthood 3 times as often as their progenitors.
Details of the study will be published in the British journal "Animal Conservation" next January but for Florida residents, Panther included, the news is already well received as we began the long journey back to our natural heritage.