These cats are magnificent, even behind bars.
Also known (in other areas) as the cougar, mountain lion, puma, and catamount, the Florida panther is an endangered species currently occupying only 5% of its historic range. In the 1970s there were an estimated 20 Florida panthers in the wild, although thanks to aggressive wildlife management their numbers have increased to over 160 as of 2011.
Active at night, they are rarely seen by humans. Below, however, is video footage of a panther casually strolling down the boardwalk at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. Take a look, and also listen for the warning sound of a hawk in the background.
I was a member of the Sanctuary last year, and would visit regularly. After this video surfaced I would go out there earlier and earlier in the morning, hoping to catch sight of this same panther.
I didn’t see him, but I did find his close cousin. And he looked quite healthy :)
In 1982, the panther was chosen as the Florida state animal.