Reclusive, beautiful and endangered: 9 facts about the Florida panther

Every year, Florida panthers are hit and killed by vehicles, but the biggest threat to the future of the big cat is habitat loss.
Panthers are endangered, and there are only between 120 and 230 adult panthers in the population, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

FLORIDA — Here are nine facts about the awesome cats (Source: MyFWC):

  • Florida panthers are the larger of Florida's two native cat species: panthers and bobcats.
  • There is no record of a Florida panther attacking a person.
  • The Florida panther is a subspecies of puma, also known as a mountain lion or cougar, and it's the last subspecies surviving in the eastern United States.
  • Florida panthers are reclusive and are primarily active at night.
  • The Florida panther's decline occurred before 1950, when it still was legal to hunt them. They were listed as endangered in 1967 and are protected under federal and state laws.
  • Florida panther numbers declined to roughly 30 cats by the early 1980s due to severe inbreeding resulting in many health and physical problems.
  • A genetic restoration project in 1995 was successful in improving the health and vigor of the panther population.
  • The Florida panther was chosen as the State Animal of Florida in 1982 by a vote of elementary school students throughout the state.
  • Most panthers are found south of Lake Okeechobee, but they have been documented throughout the peninsula and into Georgia. 

More about Florida panthers | How to help

Watch FWC's panther cam below:

Panther Cam

Panther Cam Trail cam video from Audubon's Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary gives a glimpse of panther life including courtship behavior…. and kittens! Learn more about panthers: http://bit.ly/2TQgIpt Live safely in #panther country: http://bit.ly/2Y3zlWb #LoveFL #Kittens

Posted by MyFWC Florida Fish and Wildlife on Wednesday, August 7, 2019
FWC asks that anyone who encounters an injured or dead panther to please call its Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922) or #FWC or *FWC on a cellphone. Text or email Tip@MyFWC.com.