Naples Zoo’s New Panther Exhibit Will Help Injured Florida Panthers

Naples Zoo’s New Panther Exhibit Will Help Injured Florida Panthers

Naples, Florida is home to more than just some of the world’s best beaches and golf courses. It is also home to some very rare big cats. The severely endangered Florida panther’s main habitat is primarily in the wilderness lands surrounding Naples, and now, the Naples Zoo has opened a new exhibit dedicated to raising awareness about Florida panthers. The exhibit’s goal is educating people on these marvelous and endangered felines and eventually helping injured panthers rehabilitate before returning to the wild.

Though they once roamed throughout the southeastern U.S., the Florida panther’s range is now limited primarily to Southwest Florida, less than 5% of what it once was. With an estimated population of 120-160 panthers remaining in the wild, the Florida panther is one of the most endangered mammals in the U.S.

Seeing these big cats up close is a once in a lifetime experience, and you might not get many opportunities.

New Panther Habitat

The Naples Zoo’s panther habitat provides a safe and comfortable home for Uno, a young male panther injured and blinded by a shotgun blasts to the face and hindquarters. With the help of Naples Zoo’s staff Uno is adjusting to life without sight. To coax him into the outdoor portion of his habitat zoo staff used sound cues in gentle, reassuring tones. He can now be seen roaming his habitat. Visitors can look through glass windows to get up close and personal with the panther.

A reserved portion of this habitat adjacent to Uno’s will be used as temporary habitat for injured panthers needing medical treatment and time and space to rest. The zoo is now actively raising funds for a new veterinary hospital which will help large wild panthers that have been injured in Southwest Florida as well as the animals residing at Naples Zoo.  

Current Naples Zoo Exhibits

Naples Zoo features other members of the feline family such as tigers, lions, and leopards. Among the many exhibits at the zoo, you can see Florida alligators, poisonous dart frogs, lemurs, hyenas, fosas from Madagascar and more. The zoo also has a wide array of plants in its historic botanical gardens, perfect for a relaxing stroll.

Other Wildlife Options

If you would rather experience Florida wildlife in a more natural setting, there are many areas in Florida’s Paradise Coast of Naples, Marco Island, and the Everglades where Florida’s natural beauty can be found. Here are just a few of the places where nature is calling you and wildlife can be seen:

·       Barefoot Beach, 239-353-0404, 239-591-8596 (for canoeing), Website

·       Big Cypress National Preserve, 239-695-1201, Website

·       Chokoloskee Charters, 239-695-9107, Website

·       Clam Pass Beach Park, 239-353-0404, Website

·       Collier-Seminole State Park, 239-394-3397, Website

·       Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, 239-348-9151, Website

·       Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park, 239-597-6196, Website

·       Everglades National Park Boat Tour, 239-695-2591, 866-628-7275, Website

·       Everglades National Park Gulf Coast Visitor Center, 239-695-3311, Website

·       Everglades Area Tours , 239-239-695-3633, Website

·       Everglades Adventure Tours, 800-504-6554, Website

·       Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park, 239-695-4593, Website

·       Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge, 239-658-6163, Website

·       Everglades Rentals & Eco Adventures 239-695-3299; Website

·       Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center, 239-417-6310, Website

·       Tigertail Beach, 239-353-0404, Website

For more information on visiting Naples, FL or another area of the Paradise Coast, get our free Official Visitor’s Guide with maps, sample itineraries, a comprehensive list of local accommodations and attractions and a variety of local secrets.

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