Wildlife agency concerned for Florida panthers due to state roadway proposal

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says it has serious concerns about the Southwest-Central Florida Connector slated to run from Collier County to Polk County.

Although the exact location for the roadway remains uncertain, we have reported panthers often dies along roads in Hendry County and Collier due to busy streets running through panther habitat.

A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist emailed his supervisor saying, “The project would significantly increase the potential for vehicle-related injuries and deaths of panthers.”

The Southwest-Central Florida Connector Task Force discussed pros and cons of this plan in Southwest Florida.

Gov. Ron DeSantis defended the need for the road, saying this link would provide a more direct route between Central Florida and Southwest Florida.

We reached out to the governor’s office tonight about the panther concerns. Representatives say protection of the Florida Panther is a top priority, and the department is in close and continual communication with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Reporter:Taylor Smith
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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