Florida Panther Status Being Reviewed, Protection Will Not Change

Although the "endangered species" status of the Florida panther is being reviewed, wildlife officials are ensuring that the protection status of the big cat will not be altered. 

The panther is just one of over a dozen animals whose listing status is being reviewed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Panther biologist David Shindle says the review aims to gather the best available data on panther biology, habitat and conservation plans, as well as threats to their survival. Shindle said any change to the panther's protective status would require separate action from the wildlife service.

Public comments for the panther's review will be accepted through Aug. 29. 

Officials expect to complete the review by 2019.

The panthers once roamed the entire southeastern United States, but now their habitat mostly is confined to southwest Florida.

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