If a Florida panther crosses the border into Georgia, does it cease to be a Florida panther?
Apparently not. A Georgia federal court has fined a 60-year-old man $2,000 and sentenced him to two years’ probation for killing one of the endangered cats.
From the Associated Press:
NEWNAN, Ga. (AP) — A 60-year-old former Georgia resident has been fined $2,000 and sentenced to probation after he was accused of shooting an endangered Florida panther.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says David Adams was sentenced Wednesday after pleading guilty to unlawfully killing the animal. He cannot hunt while serving a 2-year probation sentence.
Prosecutors accused Adams of shooting the cougar while he was hunting deer in Troup County on Nov. 16, 2008. Federal officials say Adams was aware that the animal was legally protected.
Adams, who represented himself, did not return a message seeking comment.
The Florida panther became an endangered species in 1967. The population of those panthers has grown from fewer than 30 in the late 1980s to somewhere between 100 to 160 adults today.
I personally believe Adams got off too easy. If the feds want people to believe that violating the Endangered Species Act is a serious offense, they need to impose serious penalties. Perhaps there were extenuating circumstances, but if there weren’t the sentence was far too light.