What a beautiful day to be free!
He is among the rarest animals on earth. After the door slid up, those standing close enough heard a long, low growl. He cautiously poked his nose out of the crate, looked around and assessed his options. Then he did what any self-respecting panther would do -- he hightailed it outta there! Running straight down the road, he gathered speed and darted into the bushes of his new home. Wondering how rare this event is? Only 6 captive panthers have been released to the wild in 15 years, and his sister was number 5, released about a month ago. The pair of panthers were orphaned as a kittens in 2011. The siblings were raised with minimal human interaction at White Oak Conservation Center in Yulee, Florida. Today, he is almost 2 years old and weighs in at 123-pounds. After a medical exam and a six-hour car ride in a special wooden crate, he was released into the Rotenberger Wildlife Management Area, wearing a radio collar that will let our biologists monitor his movements. The location was chosen because it is part of Florida panthers' known range, and it should provide ample undeveloped area for him to acclimate into the wild. The location also minimizes the risk of immediately encountering other territorial male panthers. Food sources - especially feral hogs - and water are readily available. There are between 100 and 160 adult and subadult Florida panthers in the wild in south Florida. The rescue, rehabilitation and release of these panthers were made possible by those who have purchased a panther license plate. iPhone 4s FWC video by Alicia Wellman
Full Story: http://myfwc.com/news/news-...
Photos and Video: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjEyTAb6
Buy a panther plate: http://buyaplate.com/
Cool slow motion video of the sister's release: http://youtu.be/otj8hz18uHM