Panthers once roamed throughout the Southeastern United States. Today this endangered species' breeding population is limited to south Florida, with an estimated population of 120-230 wild adults and sub-adults covering less than 5% of their historical range.
Panthers require large, contiguous areas of suitable habitat to meet their social, reproductive, and energetic needs. Panther habitat selection is related to prey availability, which means they select habitats that make prey vulnerable to stalking and capturing. Dense understory vegetation provides some of the most important feeding, resting, and denning cover for panthers. Panthers select forested habitats, marsh shrub swamps, and prairie grasslands with agricultural lands and other habitat types used in proportion to their availability.
A leading cause of Florida Panther deaths are from being hit by cars when they cross roads running through their territory seeking prey or mates. Building with their already limited range like the city of Ave Maria compounds the problem.