"mcharlton's new The Big Cypress Page" Top 5 Page for this destination Everglades City by mcharlton

Everglades City Travel Guide: 49 reviews and 89 photos

Billie Swamp Safari,
Big Cypress Seminole Reservation, FL

The Beautiful Florida Panther

Soon there will be no more.

Big Cypress is not near Everglades City but this was the only location I could find to put this sight.

I love treking along the Florida Trail.

On February 2, 2002 Marilyn Russell wrote, “was just another Ground-hog’s Day for some, but not for us! That day will forever be in our memories, not just in memory but in photographs. That day ……we saw a panther.”

Marilyn went on with her story.

It started out just like any other road-kill day, nothing too exciting. We stopped at about 8.4 miles on Janes Scenic Drive to talk to a group of people we had met at the Boardwalk the previous week. Suddenly, we heard deep growling and some SERIOUS screeching.
There was no doubt in anyone’s mind that what we heard was one heck of a big cat…or cats.

We got out of the Blazer and began to look around. In a tree directly over our heads we saw her. I could never, ever tell you the feeling we had as we looked up at this truly magnificent animal. She was exquisite. PURRFECT. Her coat was lush, her eyes clear and shining, her tongue pink over two beautiful, white teeth, her nose wet and healthy, her tail long and luxurious. And if you think I am making this up, come and see our pictures at the Boardwalk or at the Preserve Office.

Of course, we called Mike Owen, Preserve Biologist, and he believed her to be about five years old and about 90-95 pounds. I can’t even begin to tell you how excited Mike was. Although the speed limit on Janes is 30 mph, Mike actually drove 33 mph to get to us. According to Larry Richardson, biologist for the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge, this uncollared female is believed to be the third generation of the breeding of a male Florida panther with one of the 1995 imported female cougars from Texas. If this lovely cat was indeed a product of that breeding then we have successfully accomplished our mission of introducing a new, healthy gene pool. I urge all of you to take a closer look at our pictures, one of which will become a new Fakahatchee postcard, as well as a web site feature.

Many people have asked us if we were afraid while we were circling under the tree and taking pictures. Actually, no, we were SO excited that nobody gave a thought to the fact that she could have leaped down on one of us for a late lunch. Even if we had thought about it, I don’t believe it would have made any difference. It was a once-in-a-lifetime event, and we were determined to enjoy it, savor it, photograph it, and never forget it.

  • Intro Written Apr 8, 2002
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Comments (1)

  • globetrott's Profile Photo
    Apr 15, 2003 at 3:07 PM

    a lovely page ! and Hmmm, camping outside might change your life completely... ;-))


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