Once Nearly Extinct, the Florida Panther Is Making a Comeback

Environment: NPR
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Automatic TRANSCRIPT

The florida panther once nearly extinct the big cats now number more than two hundred. Steve newborn of member station w. Usf met up with a photographer and a panther biologist who've been documenting their plight and their progress. The path to find the panther begins at a narrow ribbon of preserved land just west of lake okeechobee. Bryan kelly panther biologists for the state of florida opens a creaking gate as trucks rumble along u s highway twenty seven. Just a few steps away is a different world of cowering oaks and cyprus heads for decades this was the edge of panther country fishing creek while management area. This is the current northern frontier of the pather breeding range. So we've gotten female activity here recently. Which is big news for panthers. North of the coosawhatchie river is he walks down a dirt path. Kelly benz down to unlock a camouflaged camera bolted to a cyprus tree rabbit on possum hikers squirrel law enforcement your dear there's no panthers yeah only five days. The last time. I checked it had this particular camera. Usually we'll get a path once a month for the first time in forty three years. A female panther was spotted near this spot. North of the kalisa hetchy river kelly and others the leave. This progress won't matter if they can't find money to preserve a continuous path for the big patch to migrate. So far this year nine have died on the roads. That's where nature photographer. Carleton ward. Junior comes in traffic. Wars overhead is ward climbs under state road eighty just north of the everglades he inspects and infrared camera that produced one of the most striking images used in a recent national geographic article.

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