Florida Wildlife Sightings

One of my favorite things about camping is viewing wildlife in their natural habitat.  Many wildlife agencies tag or collar wildlife to study their hunting and travelling routes.  Popularity of camera phones has provided more data for these studies.  The wildlife photos you take can help biologists identify areas that are serving as key habitats.

Panthers north of Interstate 4 are extremely rare.  So if you see a panther, or footprints, while camping or hiking in the Lake George Ranger District, report the sighting here: FWC/Panther Sightings.  Photos of the critter, or even the footprint, help to confirm the sighting.  Photographing wildlife is not always easy.  Many things add to the challenge of getting a clear shot.  Lighting is often low when wildlife come out in the open.  While it is exciting to see wildlife in their natural habitat, it is also dangerous.  They are unpredictable and you are not protected by the heavy bars of a zoo enclosure.

DO NOT put yourself in danger just to get a photo.

Black bears are fairly common but the FWC is also interested in your bear sightings, especially mothers with cubs.  Report Florida bear and other wildlife sightings here: FWC/Citizen Science

 Black Bear in Salt Springs Recreation Area - photo by Mike Marchant

Black Bear in Salt Springs Recreation Area - photo by Mike Marchant

I have occasionally been surprised, when later viewing my wildlife photos, to see that one or more wore a band, tag, collar or brand.  If I can make out the identification number or letters, I'll contact the local Fish & Wildlife department to see if they can tell me more about the animal.  I love finding out where the animal was tagged, whether it is male or female and how far it had travelled.