VIDEO: Endangered Panther Spotted in Polk County’s Lake Wales Ridge

LAKE WALES, Fla. — A rare sighting of an endangered Florida panther was captured on video earlier this month in the Lake Wales Ridge State Forest.

The footage, monitored by ZooTampa, shows the elusive big cat navigating the forest, highlighting its presence in an area where it is not commonly seen. Find the news source covered by wtsp

ZooTampa utilizes six cameras in the region to track animal movements across the state. The Florida panther, listed as an endangered species, is typically found south of Lake Okeechobee.

With an estimated population of only 230 adults, each sighting is significant for conservation efforts.

Tragically, the number of Florida panther deaths this year has already surpassed the total from 2023. The most recent death occurred on May 17, when a 2-year-old female panther was found in Collier County, bringing the death toll to 14 compared to 13 last year.

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The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) continues to monitor and protect these animals, emphasizing that it is illegal to harm or harass them.

The video serves as a crucial reminder of the ongoing need for conservation and protection of these majestic creatures.

Residents and visitors are encouraged to report any further sightings to help wildlife officials track and protect the remaining population.

The sighting in Polk County underscores the importance of preserving natural habitats and ensuring the survival of the Florida panther for future generations.

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