Back in the mid 90s the Florida panther population was down to somewhere around 25 big cats, and inbreeding was becoming a serious problem. So, in an effort to increase genetic diversity, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission introduced eight pumas from Texas, which belong to the same species as the Florida panthers. Now, new research from the University of Florida has found that the experiment was a success.
While their population is still relatively small, biologists now estimate there are somewhere between 120 and 230 panthers remaining in south Florida. We talk with Dr. Madan Oli, he’s a professor of wildlife ecology and conservation at the University of Florida, and one of the study's co-authors.