USA: Lying on Florida Panthers for Corporate Profits

This video from the USA is called 15 Florida Panthers killed in 2007! – Big Cat TV.

From the Google cache.

Lying on Florida Panthers for Corporate Profits

Date: 3/22/05 at 2:17PM

Playing: Sure he’s a cat, by The Cats

United States citizens’ tax dollars at work: government department promotes junk science lies under corporate/political pressure.

This time on an endangered relative of the cougar of Western North America.

This time in the Florida of George W. Bush’s little brother.

Associated Press reports:

Fish and Wildlife Service Admits Using Faulty Data on Endangered Florida Panthers

By JOHN HEILPRIN Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON Mar 22, 2005 — Criticized by a whistle-blower, the Fish and Wildlife Service conceded Monday that it bungled some of the science used in protecting Florida’s endangered panthers.

The agency acknowledged three violations of a 2000 law that is intended to ensure the quality of data the government uses.

Those involved issuing documents based on faulty assumptions about the habitat of one of the world’s rarest animals, agency officials said.

Steve Williams, the agency’s outgoing director, reached the conclusions as one of his last actions, based on a review by three senior Interior Department officials.

Dan Ashe, the service’s top science adviser and a member of the review panel, said the agency relied too much on data collected only in late morning hours to establish the panthers’ home range.

Panthers are most active at dawn and dusk. The agency said it now would protect more variety of habitat, but not more acreage. …

[Andrew] Eller described his office in Vero Beach as understaffed and his firing as politically motivated because he wanted to protect panthers from roads, houses and other developers’ projects.

See also here.

And here.

Florida panthers killed on roads: here.

Bush administration stifles unwelcome truth on mercury: here.

Everglades in Florida: here.

Oil drilling in the Everglades? Here.

Invasive species in the Everglades: here.

Florida panther shot dead – $15,000 reward offered: here.

Florida panther rescued after vehicle collision: here.

Record number of endangered Florida panthers killed by vehicles in 2009: here.

Florida panthers and Texas cougars: here.

Also, as of Nov 17th [2010], 13 Florida panthers have been killed on the road this year (18 overall): here.

Man who shot Florida panther gets 2 years probation – Why so lenient? Here.

This is encouraging: many more Florida panther kittens in 2010: here.

9th Florida panther death in 2013 caused by vehicle strike: here.

10 thoughts on “USA: Lying on Florida Panthers for Corporate Profits

  1. Advance Review Copy Request Notice

    The following book is scheduled for publication October 3, 2006:

    JUNK SCIENCE: How Politicians, Corporations, and Other Hucksters
    Betray Us.

    Author: Dan Agin

    St. Martin’s Press, New York. 336 pp.

    If you’re a journalist or editor and would like an advance
    review copy, please forward your regular mailing address (with
    affiliation) to me by Email and I will forward it to the
    publisher. (US and Canada only, please).


    Dan Agin


  2. Python squeezing gators off top of Everglades food chain
    5:00AM Monday July 30, 2007
    By Paul Harris

    The Everglades stretch for hundreds of swampy kilometres across south Florida, home to hordes of snakes, alligators and assorted creepy-crawlies.

    But now an invasion by deadly giant pythons is threatening the eco-system of the famous park.

    The pythons, thought to have been released into the wild by careless pet owners, are no ordinary snakes. They are Burmese pythons, native to South Asia, which can grow 6m long, weigh 100kg and live for 20 years or more.

    The pythons have established breeding pairs in the swamps and are racing to the top of the food chain. Two years ago a photographer snapped a picture that appeared to show a python so big it had eaten an alligator whole.

    “It is a very serious issue, especially as we have found breeding pairs and clutches of eggs. That means they have adapted to living here,” said Linda Friar, an official at Everglades National Park. The snakes are a serious threat to indigenous wildlife due to their big appetites. The stomach contents of every python caught usually reveals a feast of rare birds and small mammals. Sometimes it also shows that the snakes have been snacking on household pets.


    The park has embarked on a major effort to curb the snakes’ numbers, but total eradication would be difficult.

    There are an estimated 350 pythons in the park but many more in the swamps outside. Rangers estimate that, for every python they spot, 10 lie hidden in the marshes.

    Park rangers, in their efforts to catch the elusive snakes, have a specially trained sniffer dog – nicknamed “Python Pete”. They have also tagged female pythons with electronic signalling devices. The females then lead rangers to populations of male pythons, which the rangers can kill.

    Although some of the snakes may have escaped into the wild in the aftermath of hurricanes, most are thought to be simply released by owners who did not bargain on their baby pythons growing to be quite so big.

    Florida is now embarking on a legal crackdown on its citizens owning exotic snakes. A new law will force owners of pythons and other snakes such as anacondas to get a special licence and insert an identifying microchip under the snake’s skin. Inspectors will visit owners’ houses to ensure they are suitable for a snake throughout its life. “They will take the Everglades over if we don’t do something about it,” said Bill Posey, the state senator who sponsored the new legislation.

    A whole host of other exotic pets have escaped into the Florida wilderness, such as feral goats, iguanas, walking catfish and coyotes.

    However, the biggest menaces from so-called “invasive species” are garden plants. An estimated 809,372 ha are now covered by invading plants. “They don’t create quite the same headlines as pythons, but plants are the invaders who actually make up the biggest threat,” said Friar.



  3. Aug 3, 6:11 PM EDT

    Everglades decision criticized

    Associated Press Writer
    U.S. Video
    Click to learn more…
    Buy AP Photo Reprints

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Bush administration’s hand in removing the Everglades from a United Nations list of endangered sites was denounced Friday by a Florida senator.

    Democrat Bill Nelson characterized it as improper meddling by Deputy Assistant Interior Secretary Todd Willens at a U.N. meeting in June in New Zealand.

    The decision could slow progress on Everglades restoration by detracting from the sense of urgency. Congress approved the 40-year project in 2000, saying it would split the costs 50-50 with Florida. But the state has paid most of $7 billion tab so far on a project expected to cost up to $20 billion.

    Nelson said he will call a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee he chairs to investigate the matter once Congress returns from its August vacation.

    “The U.N. should have been presented with the position of our agency experts,” Nelson wrote Thursday to Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne. “This action is unacceptable and, I believe, warrants Willens’ removal.”

    The largest remaining subtropical wilderness in the United States – a rich tangle of sawgrass marshes, mangrove forests and rare species – was added to the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s list of the world’s most outstanding sites in 1979.

    UNESCO gave the Everglades endangered status in 1993, because of urban growth and pollution and severe damage from Hurricane Andrew a year earlier.

    But in late June, the U.N. heritage group announced that the Everglades and the Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve in Honduras should no longer be considered in danger, because of improved preservation at both sites.

    The U.N. World Heritage List now covers 851 properties, including 30 in danger of disappearing because of natural or human threats.

    But according to Nelson, UNESCO should have listened to the National Park Service, which offered an update on the Everglades in February, and to the World Conservation Union, or IUCN, a Swiss-based network that recommended keeping the Everglades on the endangered list.

    Willens, the Interior Department’s No. 3 official, confirmed that he had recommended that UNESCO remove the Everglades from the endangered list. But he said he did so because the U.N. heritage group had suggested it.

    “From our standpoint, it’s purely a label. It wouldn’t change anything; our commitment remains the same,” Willens said. “They thought the Everglades was a distraction to other sites in the heritage program that were in tragic form.”

    A UNESCO spokesperson could not be reached Friday for comment.

    Willens said he made only minor edits on the Park Service’s technical report, and he would not step down from his job though he’d be happy to meet with Nelson.

    “For the most part the report remained intact, but nowhere does it make a recommendation on the Everglades,” Willens said. “We changed no other scientific reports.”

    Willens was policy director for ex-House Resources Chairman Richard Pombo, a California Republican and rancher who unsuccessfully tried to scale back the Endangered Species Act. Willens also was among a group of congressional staffers who visited the Mariana Islands on a trip paid by disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

    © 2007 The Associated Press.


  4. Scientists always happy to get text messages from panthers

    By Andrea Stetson • Special to The News-Press • November 27, 2010

    1:10 A.M. — Panthers in Collier County are texting.

    “It’s your basic Twitter message,” joked Mark Lotz, a biologist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

    The American Red Cross

    The panthers are sending text messages that scientists hope will teach them more about the endangered species.

    Right now, three panthers have collars with a special GPS signal feature. The collar gathers information about where the panther is every hour and stores the data, which are transmitted to wildlife biologists every time the animal passes near a cell tower.

    “Some of the collars have a text message with location data,” Lotz said. “It gives us location coordinates and dates.”

    Dave Onorato, associate research scientist with FWC, said two of the texting panthers are males that roam near Bear Island in Big Cypress. Scientists recently put a texting collar on a female that was collared on private land just north of Bear Island.

    The new collars give scientists more data than regular VHF collars, which emit a signal that scientists pick up three days a week, during daylight hours only, when they fly over habitat. The texting collars gather information once an hour and give researchers information about nocturnal habits as well.

    “It has the potential to get more locations,” Lotz said. “And, if there was a panther far off, like in Central Florida, we could still be receiving data without having to fly there to get that location.”

    The texting collars have some drawbacks, such as battery life, and aren’t as durable as VHF collars, Lotz said.

    Every time a collar or battery needs to be changed, the panther has to be chased by dogs, chased up a tree, shot with a tranquilizer dart, and then lowered to the ground to be worked on. A traditional collar lasts three to five years. The texting collars last three months to two years.

    “The potential is there, and we are evaluating it,” Lotz said. “Maybe one day it will be easy. It might reduce the flight cost and get info in a more timely matter. We have been looking at almost every type of technology out there to see if there is any better way to get information on the panthers.”

    Onorato said another drawback of texting is cost. A traditional panther collar costs $200 to $300, while a texting collar is $2,500.

    But he said the texting collars could be cheaper in the long run. It costs $200 an hour to fly over panther habitat to gather data from traditional collars. Scientists fly three days a week. Texting collars can also be safer.

    “The leading cause of death for a wildlife biologist is airplane crashes because of the low speed and low height,” he said.

    Onorato likes all the information he is learning from the texting panthers.

    “Those collecting hourly get hundreds of locations a week,” he said. “We are also looking at movement — how far they move, and how often they cross roads. There are also opportunities to locate kills. If the collar does a cluster of locations at a spot, we can investigate what the panther was eating.”


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