This photo of a panther in Sebring was recently shared by a friend. I do hope this magnificent creature has visited western Martin County. Since late October, it has certainly made the rounds. Males roam hundreds of miles, a female less, but easily could cover ground between almost neighboring Martin and Highlands counties.
Can you imagine trying to navigate today’s world? Freeways, subdivisions, fences, shopping malls, the great forests gone…Canals cutting the lands and watersheds apart?
Over 34 panthers were killed on Florida highways in 2016, and at least 23 in 2017. With an estimated 230 in the total population, those are terrible numbers. We must work harder to complete wildlife corridors across the state to allow these animals to breed and travel into north Florida and Georgia. Being stuck in South Florida is a radio-collared death wish.
If this panther does visit Martin County, we’ll probably never know it; though large they are smart to be very, very, shy.
I must say, lately I’ve been hearing rumors of panthers (yes, a pair) in Martin County near Highway 96 out by South Fork, but no photos yet…
Thank God there is something left to run wild in the world; 😊 it gives me something to dream about.
So close to the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon… Do you see his tracks?
I have been holding back on writing this blog, but today seems like the “puuurfect” day to write! Trapped inside with all this rain has me daydreaming about Florida adventures.
Did you know that a panther was spotted just ten miles west of Palm City in November of 2015? Just two months ago? Maybe he is there today– hiding in the palmettos– trying to get out of this rain.
I learned about the panther’s visit to Martin County when I attended my University of Florida Natural Resources Leadership Institute in January. I didn’t write about as I was not sure I could share the photos. As I have learned the photo are public, I am now sharing. I learned the following from my source:
The person who shared today’s photos with the Florida Wildlife Commission advised that the photos were taken on a trail camera at Allapattah Flats in Martin County’s Wildlife Management Area on November 22, 2015. He/she advised the camera was in the Wildlife Management Area off of State Road 714, but did not give any more specific location.
Panther biologists confirmed that this is “FP232.” This panther was hit by a car in Ft Meade in Polk County northwest of Lake Okeechobee, in April of 2014. He is a male and was given veterinary care by the University of Florida for his broken leg, and rehabilitated in Yulee until his release in January of 2015. FP232 was released at Kissimmee River Prairie Preserve State Park, and has since roamed all over south central Florida. It was very exciting to learn of his appearance in Martin county.
I think this is so totally cool. Panthers were once common in Martin County, in all Florida, but now as Florida is full of highways, houses, and swimming pools they are very, very rare; I have written about panthers before, but never thought I’d get to share a photo of one right here. Very rarely are they photographed…
May the panther who visited us have the very best of luck! I will take this public opportunity to name him “Martin” as FP232 is not a name fit for such a magnificent creature.