The Florida panther is the state animal, but federal officials have allowed development of thousands of acres of Florida panther habitat. Now there is no longer enough Florida panther habitat left for the growing population of panthers, and genetic defects that had been vanquished are reappearing. In this series, based on two years of investigation, St. Petersburg Times environmental reporter Craig Pittman examines what went wrong and whether the panther is now a dead cat walking. Pittman, 49, is a Florida native who has won numerous state and national awards for his coverage of environmental issues. He is also the author of "Manatee Insanity: Inside the War Over Florida's Most Famous Endangered Species," and co-author with Matthew Waite of "Paving Paradise: Florida's Vanishing Wetlands and the Failure of No Net Loss," both published by the University Press of Florida. For more about Florida panther facts, check our interactive timeline, watch video of a Florida panther capture and click on the links of this special report.