Financial and volunteer support to preserve the unique ecology and cultural heritage of Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park and to educate the public about its importance.

Canadian couple sights panther

This relaxed panther was sighted near gate 7 late in February.

Editor’s note: Lee Gerig and Carole Jodouin of Ottawa, Canada provided the Friends of Fakahatchee with a photo and report of their recent panther sighting in the Fakahatchee.

“On Saturday 24 Feb 2018, my wife and I decided to walk one of the trails in the Fakahatchee.  Our initial plan was to walk from gate 12 to the “Fakahatchee Hilton” as we have done that walk before and really enjoyed it.  Just after we entered the park and paid our admission fee, we encountered a volunteer who suggested we should try walking from the gate 7 and head toward the south tram trail – hopefully we might see some orchids.  On our way, we encountered the park biologist Mike Owen and his wife who were looking at snakes.  We stopped and chatted with them for about an hour and received an impressive flora/fauna lesson from them – really an enjoyable and educational experience.

“Then off to Gate 7 for our walk.  We hiked in about 2.5 miles and turned around.  About ¼ of a mile back we spotted a panther on the trail.  Our first ever!  Luckily, we had our cameras ready and were able to get some decent photos of this beautiful animal and watch it with our binoculars.  We probably got within 300 to 400 feet and watched him/her lie down, sit, look at us, and slowly walk away into the bush.  Overall an amazing experience.  We are now committed Fakahatchee supporters and will be back again next year, but this time we plan to take the swamp walk (now that we know about it) and of course take a few walks on our own.”