State’s huge land acquisition may help curb panther roadkill

Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:
Florida Panther
FILE: The Florida panther via a file photo from the U.S. Geological Survey/ photo by Larry Richardson/FILE.

Florida’s largest land acquisition in almost two decades has been approved and could be vital in protecting the Florida panther and other native species.

According to the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, more than 17,200 acres of land in Hendry County was purchased by Florida on Sept. 18.

Florida panther
Map of the parcels of land Florida acquired. CREDIT: CONSERVANCY OF SWFL

Part of the land bought is located inside an area known as the “Devil’s Garden.” This area is particularly noteworthy for several reasons, one being it’s a “hot spot” roadkill area for Florida panthers.

County Road 835, which borders the newly acquired land, is known as a severe segment for panther-vehicle collisions by the Panther Recovery Implementation Team. The Conservancy of SWFL has served PRIT for almost a decade.

According to Panther Pulse, in 2022, two panthers were roadkill victims on CR 833, while another was struck and killed on CR 832, so three of the 25 reported panther roadkills happened near this land area.

Before Florida bought these areas of land, there was only protected land on one side of the road.

“We are hopeful that the transportation entities will work together to address deadly vehicle strikes to improve roadway safety and to reduce the number of endangered panthers being killed at this location,” said the Conservancy of SWFL’s website.

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