Florida Panthers Endangered
From the moment that we arrived in Naples, we were always be told about the endangered Florida Panther. When one thinks of panthers, they usually think of the black panther; however, the Florida Panther is a tawny golden color.
The Florida panther roams through the National Panther Wildlife Refuge, Everglades National Park, The Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park, Big Cypress National Preserve, Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge, and Collier-Seminole State Park.
You need to be alert from dusk 'til dawn [whenever deer are active]. Florida panthers are usually active at night. People who live here keep their pets secure because free-roaming pets or ones tethered and unfenced are easy prey. They suggest that you should always hide or bike with a friend and let family or friends know your whereabouts and when you plan to return.
Now after these warnings, I must say that there is no record of a Florida panther attacking a person. In fact, Florida panthers are rarely seen. They are very shy cats.
The greatest threat to the Florida Panther is loss of their habitat. Also, many panthers die each year because of vehicles striking them on the many roadways.
Facts I learned about the Florida Panther:
1. Florida panthers are one of the most endangered species [there are fewer than 100 Florida panthers that remain in the wild.
2. The Florida panther is a subspecies of the puma [also known as a mountain lion or cougar.
3. Most Florida Panthers live in Southwest Florida. Mainly in the Big Cypress/Everglades ecosystem in Collier [where Naples is], Lee, Hendry, Monroe, and Miami-Dade counties.
4. Most of the Florida panthers died prior to 1950 when it was still legal to hunt them. In 1967 it was listed as endangered under federal and state laws.
5.In the early 1980's, there were only 30 Florida panthers, and in 1995 a genetic restoration project began, and "it has improved the genetic health and vigor of the panther population."
While we were there, Friends of the Florida Panther Refuge had an annual Meeting in Naples. [see photograph #2].
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Just a few warnings:
For people who go to the Naples' beaches to swim:
Be aware of jelly fish, stingrays, and sharks.
For fishermen who fish at Naples City Pier or in any of the bays or inlets:
Be very careful when removing hooks from any catfish you catch.
For those who drive in the Naples' area:
Be aware of the frequent turn around places. While there, we saw several accidents because of this turn arounds. Also, during the Winter Season with all the northern visitors, the traffic problems are doubled.
For those of you who are in Naples in the storm season:
Be aware of the dangers of hurricanes. Although there have not been too many hurricanes that have hit Naples, it is always a possibility. The worst one was "Donna" in the 1960's; however, there has been one in the 21st Century.
And always be aware of the alligators if you are near water. We saw alligators near where we stayed in the condo. A big one was sunning himself near a pond. Also be aware of snakes.
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Beware of RED TIDE
What is a Florida red tide?
A red tide is a higher-than-normal concentration of a microscopic alga (plant-like organisms). In Florida, the species that causes most red tides is Karenia brevis. This organism produces a toxin that can affect the central nervous system of fish. At high concentrations (called a bloom); the organisms may discolor the water. However, red tides are not always red. They can appear greenish, brownish, and even purple in color. The water can even remain its normal color during a bloom.
Is red tide a new phenomenon?
No, it is not a new phenomenon. Red tides have been documented along Florida's gulf coast since the 1840s and probably occurred much earlier. Fish kills around Tampa Bay were mentioned in the logs of Spanish explorers.
Warning: DO not drink and drive in Naples
Be forewarned; the Naples Police and Collier County Sherriffs aggressively target suspected impaired drivers. That means they will wait in packs outside local watering holes (which are few) and will pullover just about anyone on the road after 10pm. Most of the locals are Old Geezers in bed by 9pm, so if you are on the road, you must be up to trouble in their eyes. Don't risk getting ticketed or beaten up by these guys. They are bad news. A long time resident and holiday visitor.
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