Woods and Waters An outdoor blog by John McCoy

Fresh blood fuels panthers’ bounceback

Tough cookies

For decades, biologists watched as the Florida panther subspecies ebbed closer and closer to extinction.

They’re doing much better now. The population has tripled, and biologists attribute the change to 1995’s desperation attempt to deepen the big cats’ gene pool. Figuring a “dash of the mongrel” might help the species survive, wildlife officials imported eight female cougars from Texas.

Today’s panther cubs are, as researchers put it, “Schwarzenegger tough,” a marked difference to the genetically fragile, weak-hearted cubs being born a decade and a half ago.

Here’s the complete story, from National Geographic News.