Panther Awareness Program Through the Use of Photography
The Florida panther is one of the world’s great restoration success stories. Having once roamed not only in Florida but also in Georgia, Alabama, and other states, they were reduced to less than 30 panthers by the 1970s and 1980s. Their numbers now are estimated to be between 120 and 230 panthers state-wide in Florida with the great majority of those in the southwest of the state.
As the panthers numbers rebound and as more people continue to move to Florida, the panther/human interactions continue to rise. The area around Golden Gate Estates in southwest Florida is the area that has the highest interaction of the whole state. That is why, in collaboration with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), we have created the Panther Awareness Program Through the Use of Photography which is being implemented in the Golden Gate Estates area.
The program focuses on working with students that live in that area as well as adults that want to participate in the program. It is a multi-phased program that includes the deployment of remote trail cameras in the participants’ backyards followed by the deployment of the full dslr/flash set up to capture color images. The images will be used by FWC to monitor and update panther information. The program also incorporates a Citizen Scientist component which allows the participants to upload the images they capture into global portals allowing them to make a true global impact.
The main goal of the program is for the residents in the area to become not only aware of the panthers and learn how to live with them, but to become stewards of this magnificent animal and the natural areas it needs to survive. Photography allows the participants to create their own connection to the panthers and other animals that visit their backyards.
We hope to be able to expand the program to other parts of Florida in the near future.
Please help us grow and maintain this program by making a donation here. Thank you!