Where To See
Seeing A Florida Panther
In The Wild
People in every section of Florida claim to have sighted a wild panther, but most of the remaining animals are believed to inhabit the remote regions of the Big Cypress-Everglades region of South Florida.
However, verified sightings have also come from Central Florida, in Seminole and Indian River Counties.
Perhaps the best place to see a panther in the wild today is in the Everglades region. Most of the 27,000-acre Florida Panther NWR (click on visit) located 20 miles east of Naples is closed to the public except for a hiking trail. An estimated 5 to 11 animals use the refuge area monthly.
Open to visitors are several adjacent areas where panthers are known to roam. They include the Fakahatchee Strand, the Bear Island Unit of Big Cypress National Preserve; the Raccoon Point area of the Big Cypress National Preserve; and the eastern region of Everglades National Park.
The optimum times to see a panther is early or late, the same time when deer tend to feed most actively. Don't look for panthers only in the woods. They are good swimmers and one cat was sighted swimming a river about a mile wide.
Panthers In Captivity
With only 160 animals remaining, your chances of spotting a Florida panther in the wild are, quite frankly, dismal.
You would do better to track
down captive animals, something not normally suggested
for Florida wildlife on this site.