Of course it’s bad news that a record number of Florida panthers – 17 – have been killed this year, mainly hit by cars. But wildlife experts and the media are reporting that there is a positive side to this news, and that is simply that the population of panthers is growing. For an animal that people believed would go extinct and is certainly still on the brink of extinction, an increase in sightings actually points to progress. The panther population had dwindled to about 30 panthers statewide two decades ago and now has reportedly grown to between 100 and 160. It’s all due to genetic restoration (breeding Florida panthers with their cougar relatives in Texas) and the conservation efforts of biologists, state organizations, and concerned citizens. Check out this WFTX-TV story on the Florida panther – with a reminder for people in the Collier County panther-crossing areas to observe posted speed limits to protect Florida’s most endangered state symbol.