By the 1970's, the panther population had been reduced to an estimated 20 remaining in the wild. Conservation efforts have boosted the population to 160 as of 2013, but this species still faces countless challenges in its fight for survival.
Human encroachment has devastated the Florida panther's habitat. Each breeding unit (one male with anywhere from two to five females) needs a wide, 200 square mile expanse to establish their territory. So, our population of 160 panthers needs 32,000 square miles. We have made available an estimated 3,800 square miles for them.
Additionally, vehicular collisions, Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, inbreeding, and contact with chemicals that feminize male panthers and decrease their likelihood of reproducing are also contributing to this species' struggle.
Conservation efforts have centered around maintaining their habitat in the face of a rapidly developing south Florida real estate market. Numerous conservation groups have proposed the Florida Panther Protection Program to establish a large, contiguous habitat for the species.