FWC wants to know if you have seen a panther

August 15, 2012

Pictures courtesy of David Shindle and/or Larry Richardson, Conservancy of Southwest Florida, USFWS and FWC.

Share your Florida panther sightings, photos on FWC’s website

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has launched a new website that makes it easy for citizens who spot Florida panthers to share the information online.

The site – https://Public.MyFWC.com/hsc/PantherSightings/ – enables the public to report when and where they have seen a panther or its tracks and upload photos of the sighting.

As recently as the 1970s, the Florida panther was close to disappearing, with as few as 20 animals in the wild. Now there are an estimated 100 to 160 adults and sub-adults. Sub-adults are panthers that have left their mother but are not yet breeding age.
The growing population of this endangered species and its need to roam over large areas mean panthers are spreading beyond their well-documented south Florida range. The FWC has evidence of panther sightings throughout Florida and is getting increased reports from people lucky enough to have photographed a panther or its tracks.

“While it’s encouraging to hear from a person who is excited about seeing a Florida panther, the FWC has to have specific documentation of the panther sighting to provide sound science-based panther management,” said Darrell Land, FWC panther team leader. “We’ve been receiving a lot of panther pictures from people who use trail cameras, and this website makes it easy for them to share that information with the FWC.”

FWC researchers will use the reported sightings to gain knowledge on the range of Florida panthers.

“The comeback of the Florida panther is a great example of what coordinated conservation efforts can accomplish,” Land said. “The FWC is asking people to help document how panthers are responding to these conservation efforts and where they are coexisting with Florida’s 19 million human residents.”

Learn more about the Florida panther at FloridaPantherNet.org/. The site includes information about panthers for people of different interest levels, including a coloring book and activity pages for kids.

Identifying Panthers:
•  Florida panthers are large, tawny-colored cats that are 6-7 feet long. Visit Panther Net for panther identification tips.
•  Adults range in weight between 70-100 pounds for females and 100-160 pounds for males.
•  Panther kittens are spotted at birth but these spots fade as the kitten grows older and by their first birthday, the spots are no longer visible. It would be rare to see a panther kitten without also seeing its mom.
•  Go to FWC’s Flickr site to see photos of panthers: FWC Flickr Panther Web Photos or visit: FWC Florida Panther Web Site
•  To see answers to frequently asked panther questions, go to Ask FWC and type in “Florida panther”.