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> And they keep saying Panthers aren't around here...
fishinforreal
post Jun 8 2005, 06:53 AM
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I bet there is a lot more than they think...

Panther killed on I-95

A young male panther looking for love Saturday met a hard metal bumper instead of the soft, svelte female his genes drove him north to find.

Romance is not the first order of business on the high-speed lanes of Interstate 95. The Florida panther was killed on the highway near the Flagler-St. Johns county line.

It was the first time in 20 years a panther has been documented in Flagler County.

The panther had apparently roamed some 200 miles from his Southwest Florida birthplace, crossing lots of busy highways before his luck finally ran out, said Mark Cunningham, wildlife veterinarian for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission.

The panther's mission would have been fruitless anyway. Even though it's becoming more common for male panthers to travel north, officials say the females are staying put south of the Caloosahatchee River -- between Lake Okeechobee and Fort Myers -- and the northern boundary of their current breeding range.

Panthers used to roam throughout the Southeastern United States but pressures from a growing human population shrank their numbers to only about 30 animals in the early 1980s and pushed most of them into the remote wilds of Southwest Florida.

But male cats naturally roam hundreds of miles looking to escape territorial males in their home ranges and create their own territories. So as the panther population grows -- the latest count in 2003 was 87 -- more male panthers are finding their way to Central Florida.

Just this spring a male panther with a tracking collar wandered up north of Sebring in Highlands County, Cunningham said. In 2003, a young male was killed on Interstate 4 in Hillsborough County. Overall, the state reports, five to 10 panthers are killed on roads each year.

The cat found Saturday had wandered farther north than any known panther in recent years, said Cunningham, who examined the cat Monday.

The panther was a healthy 3-year-old adult and weighed about 125 pounds, he said. The animal was not wearing a tracking collar and did not appear to have one of the microchips that commission biologists have slipped under the skin of many of the panther kittens born in recent years.

Genetic samples will be tested to be sure the panther is from the Southwest Florida population, Cunningham said.

Panther sightings often have been reported in Volusia County in recent years.

Biologist Chris Belden has studied Florida panthers for more than 20 years. The panther recovery coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said he's not surprised to find the cats roaming in the St. Johns River corridor. That's the last place they were documented before the population shriveled away.

Two panthers traveled along the river corridor to Flagler County in the mid-1980s, Belden said.

It's a good news-bad news scenario that the females don't stray as far afield, said Steven Williams, vice president of the Florida Panther Society. It's unfortunate the males end up wandering around alone but if the cats mated in Central Florida, the kittens would face tremendous survival odds against all the traffic and people.

The panther may have been the second killed in this area this year. Mary Brennan, an assistant county attorney for Volusia County, is convinced she saw a dead panther on the side of U.S. 92 between Daytona Beach and DeLand in January. She said it had the classic markings of a panther, including the very long tail.

At the time, Brennan didn't realize there hadn't been an "official" panther sighting here in 20 years. She said she called the wildlife commission but it isn't clear whether anyone responded to her call. The panther biologists say it wasn't reported to them.
 
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Jig n Gig
post Jun 8 2005, 07:00 AM
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I saw one in Osceola County about 5 years ago crossing Narcoossee Road. He almost found love with the bumper of a Ford Expedition.
 
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Fish n Freek
post Jun 8 2005, 07:30 AM
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The panther is the only animal in florida I have yet to see in person....stil waiting


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mwk
post Jun 8 2005, 07:32 AM
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QUOTE (Jig n Gig)
I saw one in Osceola County about 5 years ago crossing Narcoossee Road.  He almost found love with the bumber of a Ford Expedition.


Heard reports of some in South Osceola County.

You will know it if you hear one scream in the woods. Sends chills down your spine! :shock:
 
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BORF
post Jun 8 2005, 07:34 AM
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I seen a few up close as a kid down souf, haven't seen one up here ...


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costefishnt
post Jun 8 2005, 08:23 AM
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there is/ was one in n brevard. he is actually around the turnbul creek area, seen him a couple of years back crossing countyline ditch road norf of scotsmoore.

and no i had not started drinking yet.


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bashton1
post Jun 8 2005, 10:05 AM
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Use to see them all the time (or maybe the same one all the time) on a piece of property I use to hunt just east of Paisley


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nopulseimpulse
post Jun 8 2005, 10:12 AM
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We've had two siteings of panther on my street, My mom saw one and my nirghbor got a pic of another...this is within 100' of our property

cv
 
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nopulseimpulse
post Jun 8 2005, 10:14 AM
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QUOTE (mwk)
Heard reports of some in South Osceola County.

You will know it if you hear one scream in the woods. Sends chills down your spine! :shock:


It would probably send shit down my pants

cv
 
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Lito
post Jun 8 2005, 11:37 AM
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Saw one walking the bank west of the whale tail.
 
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Billyjobob2
post Jun 8 2005, 01:03 PM
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I use to work at one of the electric plants north of Palatka that had a lot of property in the area. My secretary's folks also had a fairly large place that bordered the plant. Anyway, they reported seeing one on their property several times as did some of the employees on the plant's property. One day, I got a extremely brief glimpse of something that looked like one, but I wouldn't swear to it. There were tons of deer, hogs, and turkeys running around the area.

The other credible story I heard involved one of my coworkers (different company) over in Osceola Co. The lady has horses and lives way out in the sticks. Seems she has had at least one horse's hind quarters cut up by one in an attack. According to her, she and several of her neighbors have seen it on various occasions. Funny thing was (not really), the FWC refused to acknowledge it was a panther that attacked the horse. Claimed it was a coyote instead. They never explained how a coyote left claw marks from the base of the spine down the haunches of a rather large horse. The lady suspected they didn't want to pay for the horse's vet bills as a result of the attack.

Who really knows? All I know for certain is I might have got a fleeting glimpse of one.


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Capt. Bob Jasper...
post Jun 8 2005, 03:58 PM
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Growing up in Titusville in the 50's and 60's you'd have thought everyone had panthers for pets there were so many. They loved the pine trees, and would start howling as soon as the sun went down. Young kids, dogs, and especially domestic cats, were not safe after the sun went down. If we still had panthers around we would not have a feral/stray cat problem anywhere in Central Florida.

They were everywhere back then, and all over the refuge too. I used to see them out there in daylight all the time, especially when they crossed the beach road to Playalinda Beach. Quite a few were hit by cars out there by Space Center workers. I think our Bobcat population here in Central Florida soared after the panthers were gone.


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Bingo
post Jun 10 2005, 12:59 PM
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Saw some prints in the mud in the very SW corner of Palm Bay about ten years ago. Pretty easy run from there to Okchubby, cept for the turnpike.


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Coolweiser
post Jun 10 2005, 01:32 PM
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I have seen Panthers in the refuge over the years. Reading Capt. Bob J's post reminds me of the changes brought on by man and his presence. If/ when you see one soak up the moment, as you may never see another Florida Panther in the wild...
 
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Shadow
post Jun 10 2005, 03:27 PM
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Here's some interesting reading.....

http://www.panthersociety.org/info.html


The last time I saw a panther was two duck seasons ago along I-95 near the intersection of SR50. This is right next to the St. John's NWR.

Dad used to tell me stories about them when he worked out at the Cape during the Apollo program. If I remember correctly, someone hit one along SR3 near Wilson.
 
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Capt.Chris
post Jun 10 2005, 03:38 PM
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I have been lucky enough to see two of them. Once driving down a rural road at the time 6 years ago. It was chasing a rabbit. Other time was while fishing in the creek 3 years ago.
 
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