The Florida panther, the state’s true wild cat, is one of the earth’s most endangered animals. Only an estimated 50 to 80 remain in the wild.
The Florida panther is a subspecies of what is called a mountain lion, cougar or puma in other parts of the country. Although cougar attacks have occurred in western states, there has never been a recorded attack in Florida.
Today, the Florida panther is the only cougar surviving east of the Mississippi. The rest were hunted to extinction.
The Florida cat is actually misnamed. Typically, the name panther is assigned only to black felines, yet the Florida’s cat is tan-colored.
Your chance of seeing a panther in the wild is small to non-existent.
To photograph a captive panther, stop in Ochopee at Wooten’s Everglades Airboat Tours on the Tamiami Trail shortly before the turnoff to Everglades City.