Reinier Gamboa "In the Land of the Hungry Ghosts"
The Florida Panther is an endangered subspecies of puma native to the forests and swamps of Florida. Though it has been protected from hunting since 1958, and on the endangered species list since 1973, it continues to be one of the most endangered species on earth. In the 1970s, it was estimated that only 20 Florida panthers remained in the wild, but through conservation efforts their numbers have gradually increased to somewhere between 100 and 160 individuals. The chief causes of panther mortality are automobile strikes, feline leukemia contracted from domestic cats, and aggression between males, who fight over the ever-shrinking territory in an intensively developed region. Typically a breeding unit consists of one male and two to five females, with the male ranging over a territory of 150 square miles or more, while the females stay within a smaller area close to their mothers. Because the panther requires large areas of contiguous habitat, it has proven difficult to re-establish the big cat in the wild.