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Endangered Species


There are only between 50 and 70 Florida Panthers left in the state. The Florida Wildlife Commission lists habitat loss, degradation, and fragmentation as the major threat to the Florida Panther’s already low population numbers.


The endangered Florida panther has been spotted many times near the tiny town of Ona, in the vicinity of the next, planned phosphate mine.

In 2004, an adult panther, approximately six feet long, was spotted by professionals on an approved walk. Ironically, the group was at the site in preparation for a court case challenging a strip mining permit.

The panther was crossing an unimproved trail east of Horse Creek.

Even phosphate company consultants were exhilarated at the size and grace of the animal. These anecdotal sightings are more frequent than the public knows, and the mining companies are willing to admit. Click here to read the consultant's own report on the sighting.


Asked by a journalist about protecting the areas of reported panther sightings, one government official huffed, "They really don't belong north of the Caloosahachee River."

In March 2005, thanks to a “whistleblower,” the Fish and Wildlife Commission admitted that they used “shoddy science” when designating panther habitat.

The result: more developments paving the endangered cat's limited and shrinking territory.

The Florida Panther is not the only endangered species affected by phosphate mining. Many protected species call the Peace River Basin their home. Here some examples of the threatened or endangered animals that are at risk:

  • Audubon's crested caracara
  • Florida grasshopper
  • burrowing owl
  • Florida sandhill crane
  • sparrow
  • limpkin
  • Florida Scrub Jay
  • peregrine falcon
  • Little Blue Heron
  • Snail kite
  • red-cockaded woodpecker
  • tri-colored heron
  • southeast American kestrel
  • wood stork
  • white ibis
  • Florida mouse
  • Florida black bear
  • gopher frog
  • Florida panther
  • eastern indigo snake
  • American alligator
  • Bald Eagle
  • Gopher Tortoise
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