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Pantherpalooza, the Year of the Panther, the Panthering—whatever you want to call it, there's been more than a few panther sightings lately that have got us proudly saluting to the Florida state flag.
While taking a leisurely morning stroll March 29 at the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, located just north of Naples, Tina Dorschel
had an "oh shit" moment of epic proportions as she crossed paths with a panther.
The most amazing thing is that she actually kept the camera on it.
On on early morning nature walk we saw a gator, a snake, frogs, pretty birds, and had this unexpected encounter. (Warning...curse word at end!)Posted by Tina Dorschel on Tuesday, March 29, 2016
But Dorschel isn't the only one getting a healthy dose of the "oh shits."
East Fort Myers resident Phil Hendra had his adrenaline spike when he spotted a Florida panther lounging around the porch at his father's house on March 18, according to WFLA
. (See top picture.)
"It stayed for about 20 minutes and laid down for a bit," said Hendra. "It looked at us inside the window then slowly walked away and we have not seen it since. My parents have lived here since 1988 and they may have seen a younger panther about two years ago, but nothing compares to this once in a lifetime experience."
Those two panthers have luckily fared better than a deceased panther that was discovered in Collier County last Friday
. Officials say the cause of death was a hit-and-run, which is a total bummer considering the dwindling number of panthers in Florida.
Since the Florida state animal is endangered with only a scarce 100-160 left
in the wild, you could say this chance meeting between man and beast is on par with Dennis Rodman and Kim Jong-Un's budding, bizarre bromance
Despite the panther's endangered status, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission said last year that there has been "essentially no progress"
in expanding the panther population, so we should leave those efforts where they are at.