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  Florida Panther


The Florida panther is a subspecies of the cougar, a large cat that once roamed from the Yukon to the tip of South America but now is extinct through much of its former range. The panther has many common names including mountain lion, cougar, puma, and catamount.


Today the Florida panther is the only large cat living in the wild east of the Mississippi.  In the American West and in the South America, cougar still exist, but the Florida panther, a subspecies, is on the brink of extinction. With an estimated 30 or 50 individuals left, the panther is considered by many experts to be the one of the most endangered mammals in the world.

The remaining Florida panthers now live in the Big Cypress National Preserve (plus adjacent lands), and Everglades National Park, both in the southern part of the state.

Black Bear

Black bears were formerly found throughout Florida except in the Florida Keys. Now they are localized in a few places. They are relatively common in the Big Cypress Swamp and Ocala National Forest and may also be seen occasionally in the Everglades and the northern counties of Florida, especially in riverine forests. Florida’s bears are usually black with white markings but may also be brown. These are Florida’s largest native land mammals (bison in Florida are all introduced).

Florida has the most widespread population of black bears in the southeastern United States, with between 500 and 1,000 in the entire state, although it is not known how many for sure.

White-Tailed Deer


The white-tailed deer is one of the most highly adaptable animals in the Western Hemisphere. Its range extends from Hudson Bay in Canada through the United States to Central and South America, from jungles to high mountain areas. It is absent in Utah and rare in Nevada and California, however.


Sixteen subspecies of white-tailed deer are found from Canada through South America, and they vary considerably in size. These deer can range from as large as 400 pounds for a big buck in northern states to as little as 45 to 55 pounds for Florida’s Keys deer.

White-tailed deer are beautiful, shy creatures who move with great agility and grace. They are named for the white undersurface of the tail, which is displayed as a flag when the animal bounds off. Their speed, excellent sense of smell, and keen ears are their main defenses against predators.

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