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Climate Change and The Florida Panther

– Laura Betts B.E.A.R. Monitor Guest Columnist

2016 was the 40th consecutive year with a global temperature above the 20th-century average. Over 97% of scientists agree that climate change is happening, and caused by human activities primarily burning fossil fuels. Threats to Florida include increased hurricane intensity, a temperature increase of nearly 3°F and sea level rise of 1 to 4 feet by 2100.

Florida is home to 50 endangered species. Scientists predict the Florida panther may go extinct because of loss of habitat due to sea level rise if rapid conservation actions are not taken to establish populations to the north. Planning should include wildlife corridors that link wildlife populations throughout Florida and educate people how to live safely with wildlife if we plan on saving our endangered species.