The Florida Panther that was once common throughout the southeastern United States now has a population of less than 100 due to being hunted after 1832 when a bounty on panthers was created. Perceived as a threat to humans, livestock, and game animals, the species was nearly extinct by the mid-1950s.

Now the remaining panther population are protected but suffer from habitat loss caused by the conversion of their territory by industrial farming uses and the loss of land to commercial developments such as the town of Ave Maria built in the center of their traditional habitat. Another big factor is getting killed by vehicles on I-75 and Hwy 41 that pass through their territory. Add the natural cause of panther deaths; territorial disputes with other panthers, inbreeding, disease, and environmental toxins. None of this bodes well for the small remaining population.

One additional comment about my photo is so others seeing it don't have the same reaction that my daughter had which was; "What the hell are you doing, Dad?" As I told her, the panther in the photo was in captivity after being injured from being struck by a car.

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