Monday, June 4, 2007

Florida panther re-emergence

Interesting news. The Florida panther is making a comeback since having dwindled to very low and endangered numbers only a decade ago. In a move to prevent them from susceptibility to higher mortality rates due to inbreeding, a controversial move was made to introduce Texas cougars into the bloodlines.

It seems that at least in some areas, such as the Everglades, and possibly here in Southwest Florida, that's resulted in a very encouraging recovery in their population. A girl I worked with recently commented on her grandfather's phone call when he saw a panther in his yard. She thought he was pulling her leg with tall tales. He took a picture of the animal. As it tried to find a way to enter his house.

A few months ago, my husband had a breathless moment with such an animal. In a populated area, he paused in the road while driving when he saw a large cat (LARGE) leap in front of his path. It took him a second to realize it was a Florida panther, long and lean and tawny greyish. He said it took one look, and one long seemingly lazy leap, and was gone. But oh the gracefulness of it.

I thought this article was interesting, since livestock owners around these parts have to take that into consideration. Our wild animals and our domesticated ones are sharing a shrinking square footage.

GOLDEN GATE ESTATES: An idea from Africa is being used in Southwest Florida
to protect homeowners' pets and livestock.
Volunteers from local, state
federal agencies are working with the Defenders of Wildlife organization
to keep
all wildlife safe.
They joined in Golden Gate Estates to erect
the same kind
of pen used by African farmers to keep lions away from their

(Read the rest of the article:

Here are the shelters mentioned in the article, the sort constructed originally to keep African lions from harming sheep, goats, and cattle:

I never would have guessed we'd have to one day file this in our growing stash of homestead planning thingies...ha! Who knew?

I wonder if these beautiful bad boys come out in daylight much?

I wonder what I'd do if cornered in a back pasture by Really Big Kitty? Run? I'm not inmarathon condition, and I wouldnt get far. Though the animal might be deterred by laughter at the very sight of my trying. And I don't think my carrying a big stick and trying to wield it would be a very effective bluff, either. I wonder about things like that. Not that it's likely to happen, but then again, as soon as you dismiss the unlikely from happening, isn't that when they're most likely to occur?

I know sound can be used with animals to either relax them or disturb them. I've heard of some folks piping soothing music into their cowsheds for more relaxed milkings, or into riding barns to soothe the more nervous horses. I know noise can also be used to disrupt other pests from setting up camp, such as colonies of roosting starlings. Where we lived in Tennessee there was just such an overpopulation that would congregate behind our subdivision in a stand of large oaks. I never minded the bird noises, but their disease potential had been noted by local authorities, and light and sound, if I'm remembering correctly, were used nightly about sundown to convince them to disperse.

I wonder what noise, if any, would scare a panther?

I've heard some of my daughter's music. I'm thinking some of those thumping woofer sounds that come from my older vehicle she drives (with the mysteriously blown out speakers?) might be a possibility, ha!

Or then again, there's always Mrs. Miller...remember her from the 60s? (for any readers older than pre-embryonic at that stage) One of those albums might be the music industry's solution towards a sustained panther-attack decline...heh heh ;-) About...

For a sample of the songs "Downtown" and the Beatles' "Hard Day's Night"

(No house cats were harmed in these recordings...honest)

So much for visions of Milking to Mozart....


Panther image:

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