The Florida panther is one of the most endangered mammals in the U.S. They are light brown or tawny-colored with black whisker patches and a long tail that may be kinked near the end. Florida panthers were over-hunted nearly to extinction until the 1950's when they were first protected by the State of Florida. Typically found inland inhabiting hydric pine flatwoods, Florida panthers are frequently observed using habitat in the Reserve as part of their range, as confirmed by both radio collar tracking and wildlife camera imagery.
As part of our listed species monitoring program, Rookery Bay Research Reserve biologists use RECONYX wildlife cameras at a known crocodile nesting site to document nesting and predation. The camera has captured images of many different animals at the nest site, including Florida panther. The images in this series are are clear enough that panther biologists could possibly identify the individual through scars and other markings, and provide a rare opportunity to observe endangered species behavior. The panther was clearly curious about the camera however, it stayed in view for nearly 30 minutes over the duration of this video.