• The Florida panther's steely gaze - NPS/RALPH ARWOOD

    Big Cypress

    National Preserve Florida

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  • Annual 60-Day ORV Closure for Wheeled Vehicles

    Beginning at 12:01 am Monday, June 2, the annual 60-day recreational ORV closure for all units of the Preserve that allow for wheeled ORV access will begin. The closure will be lifted on Friday, August 1. More »

  • Secondary Trail Closure

    Effective 8/1/2014, following the 60-day recreational ORV closure, only the designated primary trails in the backcountry will be open to recreational ORV use and access. All secondary trails will remain closed on an interim basis for an additional 60-days More »

  • Campground Closure

    All campgrounds but Midway and the loop in the Bear Island Campground are closed through August 29. More »

  • Interstate 75 Mile Marker 63 Closure

    Beginning summer of 2013, the rest area and backcountry access at Mile Marker 63 will be closed due to construction. More »

Release of Florida Panther K304/FP194

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Date: November 30, 2011
Contact: Bob DeGross, 239-695-1107

On Tuesday, November 29, 2011 Florida panther K304 -- now identified as FP194 -- was returned to Big Cypress National Preserve. The release of the cat occurred in a remote area of the Preserve around 7:30 p.m. near where the cat was removed in October of 2010. Due to transport timing and change of release area this activity was not open to the public as originally planned.

On October 25, 2010, through on-going tracking activity within the Preserve, it was discovered that the radio-collar of female panther FP102 was emitting a mortality signal. Upon reaching the site of the signal, National Park Service (NPS) biologists found the remains of the cat. A subsequent necropsy confirmed that FP102 had died from wounds received during a fight. Five months earlier the cat had give birth to two male kittens. After the death of FP102, one of the offspring, K304, was discovered orphaned. His sibling was never found.

Upon discovering K304 the NPS, working closely with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), transported the kitten to the White Oak Conservation Center (WOCC), a wildlife facility in northeastern Florida. The Florida Panther Research and Management Trust Fund paid for K304/FP194's care while at White Oak.

At the facility K304 was cared for and housed in appropriate facilities with minimal human contact. Now K304, a young, healthy cat, is of the age that it can be released near the area it was born.

Early on November 29 the cat was captured and tranquilized within the holding facility at WOCC, fitted with a new radio collar by NPS staff and evaluated by Scott Citino, Center Veterinarian; Mark Cunningham, FWC Veterinarian and other White Oak Staff.

Upon return to the Preserve FP194 was 1.5 years old, 86 pounds and determined to be in good condition. NPS staff will monitor movements of the cat by tracking the new radio collar.

For Images and a short video related to this management action click here.

Did You Know?

Hunters entering the Preserve on a swamp buggy. Photo courtesy of Jack Moller.

Big Cypress National Preserve was one of the first national preserves within the National Park System. As a preserve, Big Cypress manages for a broader range of recreational activities, including hunting and off-road vehicle access.