The Florida Panther (Puma concolor coryi) is a beautiful wildcat native to Florida and quickly facing extinction. There are only 100-180 panthers left in the breeding population. This large cat that once freely roamed a majority of the southeastern United States is now confined to the southern tip of the Florida peninsula.
Panthers live in a variety of habitat types, from wooded areas to swamps, but prefer vast areas for optimal prey accessibility. Areas with dense understory are ideal for feeding, resting, escaping the heat, and creating dens.
Florida panthers are carnivores and mostly sustain on white-tailed deer and wild hog. They are also opportunistic predators and will consume smaller mammals like raccoons and rabbits, and sometimes even livestock and pets. However, encounters with livestock and pets are rare as panthers are generally reclusive.
Urbanization, road construction, and vehicle fatalities increasingly threaten these already endangered cats. The current goals of wildlife officials are to encourage breeding and monitor the adult population with the hopes of moving the Florida panther from the endangered to the threatened list.
Here are a few ways that you can assist the Florida panther population:
1) Abide by posted speed limits, especially in wildlife management areas.
2) Report panther sightings, injured or orphaned panthers to the FWC at: