As a native Floridian, I have spent a good amount of time in the Everglades National Park. There I have seen wildlife ranging from alligators and crocodiles (fun fact: the Everglades is the only place in the world where alligators and crocodiles live together), to wading birds, to manatees, but never have I ever seen the rare and elusive Florida Panther. I know that panthers are out there, and I have driven through their preserve on my way to our state’s west coast but, like most people, I have never had the pleasure of spotting one in the wild.
Well, one Florida man, photographer Ezra Van finally saw his first panther one day in January – then he saw four more! The photographer had stationed himself in the Big Cypress section of the Everglades hoping to snap photos of the large cats, and he glimpsed one, but he did not have time to take its photo. He was excited by this brief sighting so he stayed put until sunset, hoping to see the animal again. As he started to leave the park, he then saw what appeared to be a mother panther who was teaching her three large kittens how to hunt. The photographer was ready this time, and was able to take multiple pictures of the seemingly-playful felines in the wild. What an incredible encounter! You can view Ezra Van’s photos of the four panthers and read more of his story by clicking here -- I would love to see a Florida panther in the wild someday!
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