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Natural Awakenings of the Coastal Carolinas

Panther Power: Texas Pumas Counter Inbreeding

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The endangered Florida panther has been saved from extinction thanks to the introduction of female Texan pumas, reports a 10-year study conducted by the University of Florida and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The pumas, which like the panthers, are a sub-species of cougar, were brought to Florida in 1995 to counter the effects of habitat loss and health issues caused by panther inbreeding, including heart defects, infertility and other genetic problems. The panther population has since rebounded from a low of 20 to 30 cats to between 120 and 230.
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