TALLAHASSEE— Hundreds of Florida panther sightings have been reported to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission website, where people can record when and where they saw a panther or its tracks.
As of August 2013, the public had submitted 790 sightings to MyFWC.com/PantherSightings. Only 12 percent of reports included a photograph and could be evaluated by FWC biologists. Of those with photos, most were confirmed as panthers. Others showed bobcats, foxes, coyotes, dogs, house cats and even a monkey. Verified panther reports were largely confined to southwest Florida. There also were several verified sightings in south central Florida.
The Florida panther population is estimated to be 100 to 160 adults and yearlings, a figure that does not include panther kittens.
The FWC has a new “E-Z guide to identify panther tracks” available. Visit www.FloridaPantherNet.org to learn more.