With fewer than 100 left in the wild, the Florida panther is one of the most endangered mammals in the world. You can learn how to protect our state’s official animal during a state-wide observance of Save the Florida Panther Day at the Palm Beach Zoo.
Save the Florida Panther Day will be held on Saturday, March 16 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. This state-wide event focuses on the importance of saving the critically-endangered animal. Special keeper talks at 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. will incorporate the history, habitat stresses and conservation efforts surrounding the Florida panther. Activities will also include interactive children’s games and educational crafts in the Florida Pioneer House near the panther exhibit.
Palm Beach Zoo lost its only Florida panther with the passing of Colin Patrick last March. The two cats you currently see in the Florida wetlands exhibit, Washington and Idaho, are western cougars. They are members of the same puma family, but a different subspecies. Washington and Idaho serve as ambassadors for the Florida panther.
It has been illegal to hunt Florida panthers since 1958. They have been on the federal endangered species list since 1967 and on the state’s endangered list since 1973. There are several reasons for their decline in population: habitat loss, disease and collisions with vehicles.