Inaugural “Save the Panther 5k” Race to Debut New Florida Panther at Zoo

The Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society is proud to announce its inaugural “Save the Panther 5k” race, presented by Sagicor Life Insurance, on Saturday, January 4, 2014, at 7:30 a.m.

The starting line will begin in the Zoo’s front parking lot, wind through Dreher Park, and entering the Zoo on the west side. The running path will pass by the Wallaby Viewing Station, fennec fox and ocelots exhibits, Siamang Island and more on the way to the finish line in the Fountain Plaza.

Mira, the Zoo’s new Florida Panther, will be moving from quarantine quarters to the panther exhibit in a holding yard during the final week of race registration, leading up to an official public debut during a special “Panther Talk” at 9:45 a.m. after the race finishes. A soft launch of her adjusting to the holding yard, in which she will be able to see and smell Micco, the Zoo’s resident panther ambassador, will allow her comfort level to grow.

Runners who participate in the “Save the Panther 5k” race will receive free Zoo admission for the day, in which they can go by and meet Mira during her first-ever “Panther Talk.” Discount Zoo coupons will be included in each runner’s packet, for supporters who would like to cheer them on as they cross the finish line. Brochures and information about panther conservation, provided by the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission, will be included in runner participant packets.

“This race is important for us, because it supports our panther exhibit and educates the public about the plight of Florida panthers,” said Ron Brooks, Events Manager for the Zoo. “By teaching race participants about actions they can take to help wild panthers, we hope to fulfill our mission of inspiring people to act on behalf of wildlife and the natural world.”

Ashley Yates, Animal Keeper III and Mira’s primary zookeeper, said Mira’s health has been steadily improving while she has been in quarantine in the Zoo’s Melvin J. & Claire Levine Animal Care Complex. “Mira is much more active than when she first came to us,” Yates said. “We hear her energetically playing every morning. She loves to play with coconuts, and she’s lost excess fat and built muscle. Her recent movements show her flexibility and mobility have dramatically improved.”

Runners can register online through noon Friday, January 3rd, with limited on-site race day registration available. The first 500 runners will receive a panther shirt featuring a photo of Micco, the Zoo’s panther ambassador who is currently on exhibit. The Zoo thanks Sagicor Life Insurance for their sponsorship support of this inaugural race.

For more information on the Save the Panther 5K, pleave visit our event listing.

Category Tag(s): Zoo News

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