COLLIER COUNTY -
Experts say Florida panthers are attacking more of your animals than ever before. A new report shows panther depredations more than doubled last year in Collier County.
Earl and Barbara Lightcap say their new, two-day-old pygmy goats are the newest addition to their family of fourteen.
Theyre like our kids, really. We take care of them every morning every night, Earl said.
But their family has gotten smaller. Last year, they say, eight of their goats fell prey to a panther.
The panthers come over fences in this area and attack and they chase all goats and pick which one they want to, Barbara said.
Collier County is number one in the state of Florida when it comes to panther attacks.
A new report released by US Fish and Wildlife Service shows last year the number of panther attacks on livestock and pets in Collier County doubled from 12 to 28.
Golden Gate Estates residents, like the Lightcaps, saw the largest number of panthers on their property.
Its very sad, Barbara said. We had to take action and a lot of added expense and that was hard on us. But we had to do what we had to do to protect our animals.
After the attacks, the Lightcaps put up a taller electrified fence and since then, not a single goat has gone missing.
Mark Lotz, a wildlife biologist with FWC, says one of reasons for increase in panther attacks is because people arent properly protecting their animals.
Having those types of animals in your backyard and not keeping them in a secured enclosure where theyre protected from panthers could be drawing them in, Lotz said.
Another factor is a growing panther population and a growing number of people reporting attack incidents.
The Lighcaps called the FWC each time their goats went missing. But its been almost a year now since the attacks and for now, they say they think the fence will keep their goats safe.
We hope were ok keep fingers crossed every day come back and check and theyre all fine and we say another good day, Barbara said.
Tags: Your Animals