TAMPA, FL. “Way of the Panther” is showing in theaters in Florida, highlighting endangered species and efforts to save them.
Carlton Ward Jr., a wildlife photographer and National Geographic explorer, is working with veterinarians, ranchers, conservationists and indigenous people to help save the endangered Florida panther.
“Panthers are amazing, and they’re an umbrella species, so what happens to panthers is going to affect other species. It’s certainly going to have a big impact on our ecosystem,” said Tiffany Burns, ZooTampa’s director of marine and animal conservation programs. . .
The film highlights ZooTampa’s efforts to rehabilitate panthers after the animals have been injured. The main cause of death is car crashes.
The FWC estimates there are only 120 to 230 panthers left in the wild. Ward said sightings of the animal are very rare, and it took time, energy and luck to capture images of the panther using a camera trap.
The film also highlights the need to protect the Florida Wildlife Corridor, a network of land that connects wildlife across the state of Florida.
“The film highlights the work that the Florida Wildlife Corridor does and how important it is that we make sure we have this land to be able to connect land across the state of Florida, which is important for panthers. It’s also important for bears, all the species that we have here and there, there are some areas of this corridor that are very close to development,” Burns said.
ZooTampa is home to three Florida panthers who have suffered permanent injuries and cannot be returned to the wild.
“Nobody sees them that regularly, coming here to ZooTampa, it’s nice because you get a real appreciation for their beauty, their size,” Burns said.
Way of the Panther is now in theaters. Visit pathofthepanther.com to find near you!
The documentary will be shown in theaters across Florida before airing on Disney+ and National Geographic.