Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge

Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge

Infobox_protected_area | name = Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge
iucn_category = V

caption =
locator_x = 234
locator_y = 168
location = Collier County, Florida, U.S.
nearest_city = Naples
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area = 26,400 acres (107 km²)
established = 1989
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governing_body = National Park Service

The Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge is part of the United States National Wildlife Refuge System, located in southwestern Florida, twenty miles east of Naples, in the upper segment of the Fakahatchee Strand of the Big Cypress Swamp. It is north of I-75 and west of SR 29.

The 26,400 acre (107 km²) refuge was established in 1989 under the Endangered Species Act, to protect the endangered Florida Panther, as well as other threatened plant and animal species. It is part of a network of private land and government protected areas. Some of the public sections of the system are the Everglades National Park, Big Cypress National Preserve and Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve. In all, less than 100 panthers use the area, with fewer than a dozen passing through the refuge each month.

To protect the panther and other endangered inhabitants, general public use is only available at the southeast corner of the refuge, on designated hiking trails. All other areas are can only be seen by way of limited tours.


More than half, 15,000 acres (61 km²), of the refuge is woodland, with the other 11,400 acres (46 km²) made up of a swamp and prairie mix. Among the rare flowering plants there are tropical orchids such as Cyrtopodium punctatum and .


Besides the panthers, the refuge is home to Big Cypress fox squirrels, bobcats, black bears, alligators, swallow-tailed kites and several wood stork rookeries.


In 2005, the refuge had an 18 person staff and a fiscal year budget of $1,500,000 (with Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge). Approximately 8,000 visitors come to the refuge each year.

External links

* [http://www.fws.gov U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service]
** [http://www.fws.gov/floridapanther Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge facts]
** [http://www.fws.gov/refuges/profiles/index.cfm?id=41545 Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge overview]
* [http://www.recreation.gov/detail.cfm?ID=3964 Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge] at [http://www.recreation.gov Recreation.gov]
* [http://ecofloridamag.com/archived/news_panther_refuge_trail.htm Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge] at [http://ecofloridamag.com EcoFlorida]
* [http://www.defenders.org/habitat/refuges/2005/pdf/FLPantherNWR.pdf Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge] at [http://www.defenders.org Defenders of Wildlife]
* [http://occawlonline.pearsoned.com/bookbind/pubbooks/hairston_awl/chapter1/medialib/sciresearch.html Population Survivorship Study on two species of native orchids in the Big Cypress Basin] (rough draft) at [http://occawlonline.pearsoned.com SF Handbook Online]
* [http://www.floridapanther.org Friends of the Florida Panther Refuge]

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