Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in Naples, Florida.
  Photo Courtesy of Matthew Paulson
 
Photo of landsacape.

MOUNTAIN LIONS IN THE STATE OF FLORIDA

Help ensure a future for the Florida panther

The Florida panther is the only known breeding population of mountain lions in the United States east of the Mississippi River. This tiny population survived early extermination by people due to the highly impenetrable Florida Everglades. It it also the only lion population to have federal protection under the Endangered Species Act. In the 1980's, the Florida panther population was down to only a few dozen inbred cats, and researchers released female lions from Texas to help bolster the population. Today, Florida panther numbers have rebounded, but their habitat continues to shrink; resulting in increased roadkill and fights to the death with other panthers for territory.

    USE THE TABS TO THE LEFT TO EXPLORE:
  • Return to the portal page for Florida.

  • The status of puma concolor in Florida.

  • State law and regulations affecting cougars.

  • The history of cougars in Florida.

  • Ecosystems and habitat in Florida.

  • Cougar science and research in Florida.

  • Our library of media, research and reports.

  • How you can take action to help!

SUMMARY: Cougars in the State of Florida

For more detail you can explore using the links below.

The status of puma concolor.

The Florida panther is the only known breeding population of mountain lions in the United States east of the Mississippi River. This tiny population survived early extermination by people due to the highly impenetrable Florida Everglades. It it also the only lion population to have federal protection under the Endangered Species Act. In the 1980's, the Florida panther population was down to only a few dozen inbred cats, and researchers released female lions from Texas to help bolster the population. Today, Florida panther numbers have rebounded, but their habitat continues to shrink; resulting in increased roadkill and fights to the death with other panthers for territory.

Click here to learn more about status

Mountain lion law in Florida.

In this tab you will find all the governing state statutes, mountain lion legal status, state laws, information about the state legislature, initiative and referendum processes, and the state wildlife agency, mountain lion management plans, mountain lion hunting laws, depredation laws, and other regulations as appropriate.

Click here to learn more about law

The history of lions in the state.

A small population of Florida panthers survived early extermination by people due to the highly impenetrable Florida Everglades. The first recorded sighting of a Florida panther by a Spanish conquistador in 1513 heralded the reign of persecution against panthers for the next 400 years. Since that early encounter, panthers have been shot on sight by livestock owners, hunted for a bounty, lost their primary prey species (white-tailed deer) due to a legislative order, and had their ever-dwindling habitat degraded or changed into human settlements and agricultural development. In 1973, they were among the first species to be listed under the Federal Endangered Species Act.

Click here to learn more about history

Lion habitat in Florida.

The Florida panther is the only known breeding population of mountain lions in the United States east of the Mississippi River. This tiny population survived early extermination by people due to the highly impenetrable Florida Everglades. Today, Florida panther numbers have rebounded, but their habitat continues to shrink; resulting in increased roadkill and less space for a smaller population.

Click here to learn more about habitat

The science of lions in the state.

As the only remaining population of mountain lions occurring east of the Mississippi, Florida panthers have been the focus of much attention and research. Most of this work has been conducted by the Florida panther by the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission and the US Fish and Wildlife.

Click here to learn more about science

Take action for lions.

The Florida panther is the only known breeding population of mountain lions in the United States east of the Mississippi River. This tiny population survived early extermination by people due to the highly impenetrable Florida Everglades. It it also the only population with federal protection under the Endangered Species Act. In the 1980's, the Florida panther population was down to only a few dozen inbred cats, and researchers released female lions from Texas to help bolster the population. Today, Florida panther numbers have rebounded, but their habitat continues to shrink; resulting in increased roadkill. With your help, we can raise awarness of these issues and incraese the tools available to protect these animals.

Click here to learn more about action

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