Monday, March 21, 2005

Fired Panther Scientist was right

Agency Admits Panther Whistleblower Was Right; Fish & Wildlife Service Persists in Trying to Fire Vindicated Scientist:
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) today formally conceded that it has been using flawed science in assessing the habitat and population of the endangered Florida panther, according to a letter from outgoing Director Steve Williams. The agency announcement came in a decision to uphold a legal complaint filed jointly by one of the agency’s own biologists and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) that studies relied upon by FWS in approving proposed development in Southwest Florida inflate panther population and inaccurately minimize habitat needs.
I don't think Andy Eller gets his job back quite yet, but it's a step. The FWS conceded that their population estimates were flawed, leading to excessive population estimates, making it easier to destroy critical habitat. This is what Eller claimed as an FWS employee, and what he got fired for spending his time on.

The importance of habitat protection is a frequent topic here. Hopefully this helps the Florida panther recover, and produces some better science.

Interestingly, it was the Data Quality Act which extracted these admissions.