“Everglades Panthers.”

In 2015 the state of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission estimated the panther population to be 100 -180. But in 2017, the commission updated the population estimate to between 120 – 230 Panthers still remaining in Florida, making this one of the rarest and endangered mammals in the world.

The Florida panther is tawny brown on the back and pale gray underneath. It is one of 32 Puma concolor subspecies known by many names – puma, cougar, mountain lion, painter, catamount and panther.

While farm animals fare poorly when panthers are about, the cats usually give humans a wide berth. A Conservation Commission spokeswoman backed up Bergeron, confirming to PolitiFact Florida that in modern times, there had never been a verified panther attack on a human in the state. Florida Panthers lack the ability to roar and instead make distinct sounds that include whistles, chirps, growls, hisses, and purrs.

The biggest threat to the population is through destruction, degradation, and fragmentation of their habitat along with their deaths by roadkills inflicted by vehicles as they cross the roadway and their genetic diversity.

Since living in Florida, I have only seen a captive Florida Panther and all others have been seen with Youtube game camera sites capturing the beautiful animals.

The future survival of these beautiful animals will be determined by the actions of Florida’s Fish & Wildlife along with the hundreds of volunteers who manage the thousands of miles of wildlife refuges encompassing the Florida Everglades. When driving along the Tamiami Trail be aware of the Panther crossing signs, watch your speed, giving the Florida Panther a chance to live.

Photo credits: Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary – National Audubon Society  bigcatrescue.org   Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine 


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