Florida Panther Facts | Florida Wildlife Guide
Biologists knew it was critical to bring more genetic diversity into the population without diluting the genes that make them a unique subspecies of the mountain lion. Historically, these panthers ranged throughout the southeast, so there was gene flow across those states. By the 1990s, the nearest cats that had the same lineage were in Texas, so 8 female Texas panthers were translocated to Florida and releases into the wild in 1995.
A study in 2010 showed a significant decrease in health defects due to inbreeding, and the population today has grown to more than 120 panthers. Wildlife agencies still watch them closely, however, as they are the last wild population of large cats in the eastern United States and without strong protection of their habitats it would be easy for their numbers to decrease once again.
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