FWC announces Panther Depredation Compensation Pilot Program

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

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is launching a program to help offset the economic losses to Florida’s commercial cattle ranchers from panthers.

The Panther Depredation Compensation Pilot Program will attempt to minimize procedural requirements and provide compensation to commercial cattle ranchers who experience loss of livestock due to panthers.

Florida panthers prey primarily on white-tailed deer, wild hogs and other wildlife, including medium-sized mammals and birds.

Panthers might also prey upon livestock, such as calves that are free-ranging or otherwise unsecured.

Due to the size of ranches within Florida, roaming cattle had become susceptible to panther depredations.

Being able to prevent or even detect the attacks is difficult, which prompted the creation of the program.

According to the FWC, the best way to protect your household pets and backyard hobby animals is to keep them indoors or in a predator-resistant enclosure, especially at night. For an enclosure to provide adequate protection against panthers, it must be enclosed. 

The U.S. National Parks Services offers a comprehensive list of how to guard against carnivorous predators. The list grants additional information about creating proper enclosures for your livestock, as well as creating frightening devices to deter threats.

To be eligible for compensation through the program, suspected panther depredations occurring on commercial operations will require a field visit from FWC staff.

Evidence of panther involvement and the particular circumstances of each situation will be assessed per each visit.

If you’re unable to physically produce the carcass, depredations could still result in a payment with adequate supporting evidence of panther involvement.

Copyright Β©2023 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.