On the 23 of December 2015, The Florida Panther Society Inc. (FPS) received from the Florida Department of State (FDS) a Document of Certification, of the acceptance of application for "Voluntary Dissolution" of the 501-C3 corporation, The Florida Panther Society Inc. The appropriate documentation / notices were subsequently filed with the Florida Department of Agriculture Consumer Services and the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.
The decision to dissolve the FPS inc. was made on 12/16/2015 by a majority vote of the Society's Board of Directors.
After nearly twenty-two years the considered judgement of a majority of the FPS Board of Directors has concluded that the organization's role in effective advocacy has declined for a number of reasons. Shortly after the 2008 approval of the Panther Recovery Plan of 2005, the Society's position as a member of the Florida Panther Recovery Team ended when the US Fish and Wildlife Service dissolved the recovery team. The Society was not invited to be involved in any other agency actions or studies and a Florida Panther Implementation Team was organized. The team consists of one NGO environmental group, one National Preserve representative, one representative from a Florida Sportsman's Conservation Association; Florida Sportsman Trust Group, one Development Management Company, two Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission representatives and three U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service representatives.
This evolution in the recovery process has but one action left to accomplish in order to achieve the Endangered Species Act mandate for the recovery of the subspecies Puma concolor coryi. That action is simply to implement the 2008 Florida Panther Recovery Plan. The panther can be delisted from the Endangered Species List upon the establishment of three viable populations of 240+ individuals being maintained for twelve years. I am confident that the vast majority of Americans are strongly supportive of the panthers reintroduction into former portions of its range to achieve recovery. The Everglades / south Florida region has reached its carrying capacity and cats crossing the Caloosahatchee River have not as yet established a viable breeding population. I feel that they are not likely to do so because of the high human population / commercial density and never ending expansion of road systems and malls in central Florida. The subsequent panther mortality of cats being struck on highways attempting to range out to find mates or killed by dominant males in ever-shrinking habitat does not have to continue. It has been forty-eight years since the subspecies was officially listed as endangered. The time has come for us to fulfill our obligation to assure the future of the panther. Re-introduction equals Recovery.
The membership, former officers and volunteers of the FPS over the years have served and supported to the best of their abilities in unpaid advocacy for the Florida Panther. They all are to be commended for the positive results of their dedication and efforts. It is time to move on in a more nuanced and productive approach. The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) is without question one of the most effective organizations today in dealing with Federal and State government and agencies. Dedicated to utilizing legal and moral principle to petition government and business in order to preserve and insure the future of natural systems, they exemplify effective environmental advocacy.
In consideration of the CBD's dedicated and effective work, the FPS has contributed our accumulated fiscal assets to the CBD under written agreement that they manage the contribution solely for the goal of recovery of the Florida panther. Once the funds have been expended information as to how they were used is to be sent to the former President and former Financial Officer of the Florida Panther Society.
In closing I would like to express my heartfelt and sincere appreciation to all past and present members and friends of the Florida Panther Society. By your participation in helping to assure the future of the Florida panther we have made a contribution to our world's natural heritage and served our obligation to pass it on to future generations. My best to you always.