By Kevin Mims
If you have an interest in nature and wildlife viewing, you probably know Florida is one of the go-to places in the country for related activities. If you haven't been to one of our wildlife festivals (we have more than a few) that feature bears, birds, manatees and other creatures, you definitely have to add one to your calendar.
Guided trips to see some of Florida's wildlife happen daily, but catching a glimpse of a Florida panther in the wild — well, that's something pretty rare. These chance encounters are rare occasions that happen only once in a great while.
That's where remote wildlife cameras come in handy. Thanks to these low-light electronic beauties, the masses get to see what goes on with the wild things without disturbing them, even in pitch-black conditions.
Recently, footage from an anonymous couple supplied the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission with some incredible video of Florida panthers near Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park. In the video, you'll see a male panther known by FWC biologists as "Panther #183" and Scarlet, a female panther that vocalizes — or caterwauls — to attract the attention of the male.
This video is as close as it gets to seeing how Florida panthers in the wild behave in their habitat.
Check out the raw video below, or head over to the Tampa Bay Times for an edited version with some wonderful narration by Jeff Klinkenberg. Great stuff.
For this and other tips on Florida tours, go to VISIT FLORIDA's official tours guide.