Panther’s & Why Science, Not Special Interests, Ought to Oversee Environmental Policy
Let’s start with the Tampa Bay Times and their writer, Craig Pittman’s, first statement:
“The state pays nearly $1 million a year to biologists to study the Florida panther.”
But it seems that a rancher with property affected by the existence of the Florida panther is a more qualified individual to oversee policies affecting an endangered species, one that those state biologists allege number less than 200.
The policy rewrite says that panthers have outgrown their “carrying capacity” in their habitat south of the Caloosahatchee River — in other words, there are too many for the area to support naturally. When the wildlife commission’s scientists did get to see the policy, after it was drafted, they strongly disagreed.
Let me clarify this for a moment, a rancher by the name of Liesa Priddy and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation executive directory Nick Wiley decided that “instead of helping panthers spread throughout the state, the wildlife agency would focus on preventing further losses of livestock and pets.”
You read that correctly, livestock and pets will now be protected by the state, while the endangered species takes the backseat and hopes for the best via random support from the federal government. This is the sort of absurd policymaking that comes when “on the job experience” (e.g. I’m a rancher I deal with these cats all the time, I fully understand the situation - it’s a lack of logic not too far removed from global warming denial because I drive a car and don’t see a problem outside of what it costs me at the pump when the prices go up for reasons that I can only assume are randomization) isn’t sufficient because there’s a bigger picture that requires significant scientific study - from multiple observations to recording one’s findings alongside potential new understanding(s) of the situation that may or may not break one’s case in any given hypothesis. As it stands, the top biologists in Florida that specifically deal with the Florida panther - and brought it back from a population of approximately 30 in the 1990s disagree that their numbers are too high to be sustained within the southern tip and that ranchers should be allowed to kill an endangered species for poaching their livestock.
I’ll leave the last word to Roy McBride, the man that brought the Florida panther back from the brink of extinction:
He laughed about suggestions that hundreds of panthers are stalking through the wilderness, explaining that each panther needs to eat at least one deer a week. If there are so many panthers running around, he said, ‘What are they eating?’
Original article & image source: http://www.tampabay.com/news/environment/wildlife/over-scientists-objections-rancher-pushes-panther-policy/2236943