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Water-Related News

Toxic algae suspected cause of panther disease

Wildlife officials suspect toxins, including harmful Blue-Green Algae toxins, to be the cause of fatal panther disease

In the 1970s, Florida’s panther population was low, with around 20 to 30 left in the wild. While their population has climbed to somewhere between 120 to 230, algae toxins might hinder the species’ recent success.

“These are threatened animals. There’s not a lot of them in the environment. And anytime you’re losing any of them. It’s problematic,” said Nora Demers, an Associate Professor of Biological Sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University.

One of the biggest problems panthers are facing right now is Feline Leukomyelopathy or FLM; It was first documented by state wildlife agencies in 2017. FLM causes varying degrees of rear leg weakness, eventually leading to walking difficulty.