News Releases

FWC works to protect livestock from panthers

News Release

Monday, December 20, 2010

Media contact: Gabriella Ferraro, 772-215-9459

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has confirmed at least six panther depredations since the beginning of December in the Golden Gate Estates area of Collier County. In the past week alone, panthers have killed several goats and a pig.

Other depredation reports have come from the Immokalee area. Some of the most recent depredations occurred on properties less than three-quarters of a mile from each other, off Golden Gate Boulevard, according to the FWC. Over the past weekend, four goats were killed west of Everglades Boulevard. At the time of all the depredations, the domestic animals were not secured in predator-proof enclosures.

When FWC biologists receive a depredation complaint, they visit the depredation site within 12 hours, as directed in the Interagency Florida Panther Response Plan. While at the site, biologists provide residents with information about living near panthers, make husbandry recommendations and advise them of the state and federal laws that protect the endangered Florida panther.

"Vigilance is the key to protecting people's pets and livestock," said Mark Lotz, a biologist on the FWC's panther team. "Livestock, such as chickens, goats and hogs, should be secured in enclosed structures at night. Electric fencing also can be an effective predator deterrent. Cats and small dogs should be kept indoors, particularly at night."

If you live near panthers, there is an increased chance you may see one. If you encounter a Florida panther, the FWC recommends:

  • Avoid crouching or bending down;
  • Do not run or turn away from the panther;
  • Stand up tall and face the animal;
  • Make eye contact;
  • Do whatever you can to appear larger; and
  • Fight back if attacked.

"Public safety is the FWC's top priority," said Capt. Jayson Horadam, with FWC's Division of Law Enforcement. "We ask that people living near panthers be informed, cautious and aware of their surroundings."



FWC Facts:
Turtles are ancient, shelled reptiles that have existed for 220 million years. Florida is home to 27 turtle species, 20 of which are freshwater turtles.

Learn More at AskFWC