Collier County rancher wants Florida panther removed after it kills several calves

Reporter: Rachel Cox-Rosen Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:

A Florida panther preying on livestock is set to be captured and placed in captivity. One ranch is upset because this big cat is killing their calves and livelihood.

Several people on social media are angry at the thought of trapping a Florida panther for behaving like a Florida panther. The ranchers say there’s no other solution.

The panther the ranchers want to capture has a history of killing calves. One rancher is now demanding U.S Fish and Wildlife do something.

“I think this panther deserves a chance,” said Meredith Budd with the Florida Wildlife Federation.

The big cat is known as Panther 260. The panther got the number after he got hit by a car, recovered, and was returned to the wild. The owner of JB Ranch claims panther 260 has killed 11 calves.

When fish and wildlife announced plans to remove him, more than 200 people commented on its Facebook page, calling the move “sickening” and saying “humans are the problem.”

Budd said the criteria required to remove the panther have not been met. “So this is a normal panther doing normal panther things. And it would be devastating to have this panther removed from the wild simply for being a panther.”

JB Ranch defended the removal on its Facebook page, writing, “Who among you would not feel the need to take some action to protect your livelihood?”

Rancher Jack Johnson agrees. He says the panthers have taken two of his calves this year.

“Those people who don’t want to remove it, let me just come and take $900 out of your pocket every other day. It becomes more important when it’s your money,” said Johnson.

WINK News asked Johnson about compensation programs to get money back for those calves, “there have been proposals made programs put in place. People have followed protocol and never got the money,” Johnson said.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has backed off any plans to kill Panther 260, but taking him away is still on the table.

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