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Florida Panther sighting in Everglades National Park
July 21, 2007
(Video grab below)

My wife Christine and our son Philip and I tried a couple of nights ago to try and find a Florida Panther without any sighting. We had seen several Chuck-will's-widows as well as many Common Nighthawks. A few bats were around with a couple of snakes including a nice Cottonmouth along the side of the road.


I called my good friend Jeff Weber on Friday to see if he would like to try for a Panther on Saturday night, he agreed so we set a time for dinner. We met Jeff Weber, Ken, Ariel and Lorelei Setzer for dinner in Homestead.

I was thinking to my self that we would be extremely lucky to see a Panther, but being an optimist I sure hoped that we would see one.

We all left the Homestead restaurant in two vehicles at around 7:45, knowing that it would be tough to communicate (cell phones don't get reception where we were going) we stopped by our house for two-way radios. I also grabbed my video camera as I was leaving the house. We then drove into Everglades National Park and headed to research road. The night sky was filled with smoke from a prescribed burn. We slowly drove through the eerie smoke filled pine woods section looking at some of the still flaming woods as we traveled on. We all stopped along the road father down to let the kids look at some Walking Sticks, we saw many of them all along the road.

As we were getting closer to the research buildings I spotted the orange glow of something crossing the road from right to left. We radioed Ariel in the car behind to warn her that we saw something. We drove near where I thought I saw the animal go into the grass on the south side of the road. I turned the vehicle so the the lights would shine into the grassy area where my eagle-eyed wife said "I think I see a deer". Upon turning the vehicle a littler more we both screamed "PANTHER"!! I radioed Ariel behind us and put the window down to point in front of us the FLORIDA PANTHER! I must have yelled Panther at least three times in all of the excitement.

All of us had excellent looks as the Florida Panther walked slowly parallel to the road heading east. We watched the Panther for at least 15 to 20 minutes, we actually drove away as it stayed hidden in a bush. We would have stayed longer but my driver side window would not go up. Having a window not close at night, in the middle of the Everglades, in the Summer, is not a good thing. I video taped the Panther while getting bitten by mosquitoes, my wife and son were also getting bit because of the window not closing. We were all extremely happy at this point even though we were all bitten by mosquitoes. I know that I was numb from such an exciting sighting so I really did not feel the mosquitoes!

Here are three video clips , in the first one you can hear my son's excitement when he finally sees it! This clip is with out night vision.

Video clip 1

The second one is with the night vision on, the Panther is a little closer.
Video clip 2

Video clip 3

This was the second sighting for my wife and I of a Panther and the first one for our 6-year old son Philip, Ken, Ariel and Lorelei.  Jeff was lucky to see one in Costa Rica. This recent sighting was every bit as exciting as the first sighting for us, way too cool!
 

 
 

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