According to one of its own scientists, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) knowingly uses flawed science in assessing the habitat and population of the endangered Florida panther.
"I could no longer tolerate the scientific charade where agency officials pretended that the Florida panther was not in jeopardy," stated Andrew Eller, Jr., a 17-year USFWS biologist, has spent the past ten years working in the Florida panther recovery program.
- The principal deficiencies in the "best available science" used by the FWS, according to Eller, include
- Equating daytime habitat use patterns (when the panther is at rest) with nighttime habitat use patterns (when the panther is most active);
- Assuming that all known panthers are breeding adults, discounting juvenile, aged and ill animals; and
- Using population estimates, reproductive rates, and kitten survival rates not supported by field data.
"The conservation implications of these problems are that future generations will see the Florida panther only on personalized license plates," said Eller.
These scientific problems have been known for years by the Fish and Wildlife Service but to correct them would require that the Service actually object to mega-developments planned in the Western Everglades. Read the complaint