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Florida Panther Facts | Florida Wildlife Guide

The endangered Florida panther (Puma concolor coryi) was once widespread throughout the American southeast. However, habitat loss and extermination campaigns reduced their numbers significantly. By the early 1990s, there were only an estimated 25 – 30 individuals left, and they were only found in south Florida. With reduced habitat and the threat of inbreeding, scientists predicted they could be extinct within 25 years.

Biologists knew it was critical to bring more genetic diversity into the population without diluting the genes that make them a unique subspecies of the mountain lion. Historically, these panthers ranged throughout the southeast, so there was gene flow across those states. By the 1990s, the nearest cats that had the same lineage were in Texas, so 8 female Texas panthers were translocated to Florida and releases into the wild in 1995.

A study in 2010 showed a significant decrease in health defects due to inbreeding, and the population today has grown to more than 120 panthers. Wildlife agencies still watch them closely, however, as they are the last wild population of large cats in the eastern United States and without strong protection of their habitats it would be easy for their numbers to decrease once again.
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Florida Nature Safari
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Florida Nature Safari

Let wild South Florida surprise you! Discover a mosaic of diverse ecosystems home to a tremendous diversity of wildlife, exploring mangroves, marshes, forests, pristine beaches and clear subtropical waters.
8 Days / Jan–Apr
From $7895
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Hidden Yellowstone & Grand Teton Safari

Hidden Yellowstone & Grand Teton Safari

A small-group exploration of Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons as few get to experience them—scout for wildlife and discover secret places with our naturalist guides who know this region intimately. 

  Photo departures available
7 Days / May–Oct
From $6395
Limited to 13 Travelers
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