A 2-year old Florida Panther was recently released into the wild after being found with his sister as kitten when they were just five months old. Unfortunately their mother had been found dead in September 2011, but if these kittens weren’t discovered, they wouldn’t have been able to have the skills to last without her. Luckily, the panther, and his sister who had been released last February, got the chance to be rehabilitated in a natural habitat to be set free into the Everglades. Our Orlando airboat guided tours take pride in partnering with the Friends of the Florida Panther Refuge to help improve the status of these endangered animals.
Only about 160 Florida Panthers exist in the wild, which makes this was a huge win for the species because it enables the potential for the panther to contribute to the species’ reproductive process. Both of the panthers are wearing tracking collars, while the measure of success for the female will be whether or not she produces a litter of kittens. The male, released in Palm Beach County, was placed in an area that has a lower number of competing males for a higher chance of finding a mate.
The panthers were placed into a fenced, forested area while being rehabilitated, with human interaction being very limited so they could eventually survive on their own. Live animals were released into the fenced area to leave the panthers to their hunting instincts, and once they were able to hunt larger animals, they were considered ready to try their luck in the wild. Unfortunately, seven panther deaths have already been recorded this year, but with these recent releases, the panther population has hope of slowly increasing its numbers.
You can help contribute to the Friends of the Florida Panther Refuge by having your photo taken with our gator at our Orlando airboat guided tours! Proceeds from purchasing the photo help support conservation efforts for these beautiful panthers. Call Wild Florida today at 407-901-2563 to learn more about our park and to schedule your airboat tours with us!