The Future of the Florida Panther

The Future of the Florida Panther

It's the state animal, but there are only 100 left. Unless drastic measures are taken, their future is bleak. (St. Petersburg Times)

Had a bold genetic experiment in 1995 not succeeded, the Florida panther might already be extinct. Sadly, loss of habitat and lack of protective action by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service may write the final chapter for the big cats. The “Cats of God,” as they were known by the indigenous peoples, are being crowded out of existence.

This video by St. Petersburg Times ( summarizes the situation for the panther, including its history, recent attempts to save it, and the environmental consequences to the ecosystem if nothing is done. The video is part of an extensive report, including an interactive graphic with rollovers to aspects of the problem, investigative stories, photo galleries and another video on a panther capture.

Scientists and environmentalists are interviewed in the video, interspersed with images of the powerful panthers in captivity and in their natural habitat. Exotic natural sound adds texture to the piece, as we traverse the colorful swamps and forests that the cats used to call home. Perhaps the most telling footage of human encroachment into formerly wild places is that of a highway “panther crossing” where a movement sensor snapped photos of panthers and many other endangered creatures passing at night — including a bear.

CHANNEL: St. Petersburg Times (

Length: 5:49

Video by Carrie Pratt