Florida officials looking for videos of crippled panthers

Florida panthers are suffering from a crippling disorder, and state wildlife officials are looking for more evidence to determine the cause of the problem. Eight panthers (Puma concolor coryi) and one bobcat (Lynx rufus) have been sighted on trail cameras in Collier, Lee and Sarasota counties in the south of the state, stumbling around. They attribute the behavior to a neurological disorder that seems to mostly affect kittens. Wildlife officials confirmed nerve damage in a bobcat and one panther, but are ramping up their monitoring efforts in part by asking the public to submit any more videos people have shot of panthers to help track the disorder’s spread. While the panther population has grown since low population numbers in the 1990s, limited gene flow due to a lack of connectivity could spell trouble for the cats down the road. There are currently about 120 to 130 individuals in the wild in Florida.

Read more at The New York Times.

Header Image: Several Florida panthers and one bobcat have been filmed on trail cameras with a walking problem.
©Larry W. Richardson/USFWS