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From The Florida Wildlife Corridor Project: Protecting Habitat For Florida’s Large Mammals

Photo by Carlton Ward Jr.
Florida Black Bear, Highlands County

Black bears and panthers are two of Florida’s imperiled wildlife species. Both are facing a daunting obstacle to their survival: habitat fragmentation caused by development like roadways, subdivisions and shopping malls. By isolating habitats, human expansion jeopardizes genetic diversity in wildlife populations. Disease and hereditary defects are often the result.

This January a team of conservationists set out on a 100 day expedition, and they’re hoping to offer a solution to this predicament. Their goal is to raise awareness for an opportunity to restore a connection between Florida’s wild and rural lands.

In this segment of a special on-going WFIT series, we speak with bear biologist Joe Guthrie and conservation photographer Carlton Ward Jr. of the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition. We examine the challenges black bears and panthers are up against, and how a wildlife corridor could help.