Cash incentive to give endangered Florida panther room to prowl

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The endangered Florida panther, running out of room to prowl as its numbers rebound, may find its best chance at survival is a program to pay distrustful ranchers to protect what remains of its habitat.

The payment plan proposed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has never been tried before on a large scale with a wide-ranging predator, officials say.

Landowners could receive $22 per acre (0.4 hectare) to maintain the cattle pastures and wooded scrub increasingly critical as panther terrain.

A growing number of panthers are hemmed into a shrinking corner of southwest Florida, where their ability to roam is threatened by ever expanding subdivisions and highways.

Florida panther numbers have more than tripled in recent decades to between 100 and 180, according to government estimates. But state officials say more than twice as many would be needed, in multiple populations, before the species could be downgraded on the endangered list.

"It's really about buying us some time," said Kevin Godsea, manager for the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge. "We are never going to be able to purchase all the land that we are going to need to recover the species."

Seventeen panthers already have died this year, mostly hit by cars, putting the year on track to be one of the deadliest for the species in recent history, according to state records.

The deaths exacerbate the struggles that panther advocates face in building on past successes. The rebound came after eight Texas pumas were introduced in 1995 to strengthen the Florida panther's genetics. The Florida panther is the last subspecies of puma surviving in the eastern United States.

Continuing the progress requires help from private landowners, say wildlife officials, acknowledging that many ranchers resent the official state animal, which can prey on their livestock.

Cattle, goats, chicken, turkeys - even cats and dogs - have all been known to become panther prey. It is difficult to prove a big cat killing from a carcass, complicating discussions about reimbursing ranchers for losses.

Jack Johnson, a rancher of three decades in rural Immokalee, Florida, said the payment proposal unveiled in late May did little to change his views of the Florida panther as a nuisance.

"Ultimately what I think is going to happen?" he said. "The three S's are going to be come into play - shoot, shovel and shut up."

It's also unclear how the payments, yet unfunded, would affect other federal farm bill programs, as well as state and private conservation efforts.

Wildlife officials would start with a three-year pilot project covering 10 percent of the desirable terrain in private hands, at a total cost of about $1.5 million.

But the money would not stop landowners from selling out to development in another decade or two. Conservation groups call the short-term horizon a concern.

Still, the proposal is one of the few viable options, said Alexis Meyer, who runs the Florida panther critical habitat campaign for the Sierra Club.

The panther, which roamed throughout the southeast, hasn't been welcomed in other states with suitable habitat, she noted.

"It really is hard to try and move a large predator," she said. "There is just something about a big cat that either you love it or you hate it."

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Florida  |  July, 07, 2014 at 06:16 PM

What follows is some info about how social science research studies and a pretty scary process called the Bleiker Principle are being or can be employed by agencies or sub divisions (e.g. Florida's panther recovery team) to sell the unsellable to those susceptible to sattitude/thought modification convincing them to accept the unacceptable. Sophisticated use of social science analysis to convince/sell/condition people to accept what ordinarily would be considered unacceptable risks to their safety except that the social science techniques employed can convince them to accept the unacceptable?. Excerpts below from this link Here is a link to where the above link is located with other similar reports. pg 9 3rd bullet from last - "Spend the greatest amount of time talking to your opponents (Bleiker principle)" pg 14 "Evaluation takes immersion into the problem. Context-specific knowledge is required. Need refinement of a research question. This is a social science research problem. Social-science derived methods will be useful toward solving this problem. Need an intelligence process – orienting to the problem. We have started that at this meeting. Who are the key participants and what are their profiles?" pg 15 If we cultivate... cont'd part 2 of 2

Florida  |  July, 07, 2014 at 06:22 PM

Part 2 of 2 pg 15 If we cultivate relationships with the people then may not need to take bad cats out as readily. Every conflict is opportunity to build a relationship then that will build tolerance when adverse things occur. It gives us the forgiveness factor- people will be more apt to forgive you if they trust/like your commitment to solving problems fairly The Bleiker Principle Bleiker principle was mentioned in the 3rd bullet from the last on pg 9 of the Human Dimensions document at the above link.. Here's a link below to the Bleiker principle's inventor and company that trains bureaucrats on how to apply it - mainly used on project opponents from the looks of it. WOW diabolical factor. Excerpt from ipmp document - 9th bullet down: We describe this arrangement as "the Grudging Willingness of Opponents to (grudgingly) go along with a Course of Action they, actually, are Opposed to" Kind of meshes with this excerpt from above: pg 15 If we cultivate relationships with the people then may not need to take bad cats out as readily. Every conflict is opportunity to build a relationship then that will build tolerance when adverse things occur. To watch the correct video go to the link below, then start either video available to clik on, move the time bar over close to the end and let it run out so the other videos available pop into the youtube display, then clik on the video in the upper left 1:08:xx long. This is the video to look at from 9 to 15 minutes or the entire thing preferably but 9-15 minutes was a high point for me to understand this powerful technique and it's use. 1 more part to follow

Florida  |  July, 07, 2014 at 06:23 PM

Here is the video link if listened to between 9 and 15 minutes gives an idea of how much persuasive power this Bleiker training provides a trainee. At some point in time bureaucrats need to be Exposed by a high official that people respect and will believe for employing such techniques on the sincere well meaning unsuspecting honest people that question their activities and take the time to go to government meetings.

July, 08, 2014 at 10:46 AM

Well, $22/acre isn't nearly enough considering the current market value of our calves and cows. If we're going to be feeding these big cats we need to be fairly compensated and that would be something more like $1500/acre each season. Maybe more when the cat population gets bigger and hungrier. Anyway it sounds like most of the cats are being killed in the road so what environmental bosses really need to do is outlaw cars. Just make cars illegal and prosecute anyone found driving one. Won't kill no big cats in the road that way. Just ban the danged cars. Couldn't be simpler unless this whole thing is just another load being dumped on farmers by elitist liberal do-gooders. Sort gets your whiskers twitchin, don't it?

PA  |  July, 09, 2014 at 08:17 AM

Solving problems? Gladesman, what do you propose when increasing the number of panthers CREATES problems? Reads Pat's comments below - I agree with Pat that $22/acres is not enough to sway people's minds to change their views on the panthers.


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