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Florida wildlife officials say it's time to reconsider panthers' endangered designation

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ORLANDO, Florida — Florida wildlife officials say the growth of Florida's panther population in the past two decades should be enough for its designation as endangered to be reconsidered.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said in a draft position paper released Thursday that federal officials should rethink the criteria they've set for Florida officials about what it will take to get the panther off the federal Endangered Species list. Florida officials say some of those goals are impossible to reach, such as adding populations of panthers outside southwest Florida.

Florida wildlife officials say Florida's panther population has been growing during the past 20 years and stands at around 180 adults.

The Florida panther was listed as endangered in 1967 when the population was as low as 30 animals.

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