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Florida panther deaths in crashes on track for record year, advocates say not to worry

We are on track to see more Florida panther deaths in car crashes than ever before. But a panther advocate says these number have heightened because of season, and recent trends shouldn’t continue.

Six panthers have died this year in crashes with either a car or a train to start 2020. The current rate means 72 could die by the end of the year if this trend continues, doubling the record.

We looked at how we all can help prevent these number from coming to fruition Monday.

“If there have been six panthers killed, that is as bad as I’ve ever heard, six in that short of time,” Kitty Hart said.

Although the stats are sad to hear, many say they are not surprised.

“It’s going to get worse, Hart said. “You can’t stop the building.”

But panther advocate Becca Bryan said there are reasons not to worry.

“Not going to have six or more panther deaths in February and March and April,” Said Bryan, with Friends of the Florida Panther Wildlife Refuge. “It just doesn’t happen that way.”

The panther refuge believes the vehicle death trend will slow down once summer comes around. It also says there are plans in place to make more panther crossings in the region.

Until more signs go up, advocates tell drivers to have caution and watch the speed on the road.

Bryan says numbers are up now because of the season.

“This is the winter season. It’s cooler outside. There are more drivers on the roads. You have visitors and winter residents on the Southwest Florida coast,” Bryan said.

Reporter:Taylor Smith
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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