Manatee County’s work in nurturing and preserving natural environments has garnered recognition from both environmental advocates and the indigenous wildlife the preserves aim to safeguard. Recent observations from trail cameras have captured a male panther traversing the Duette Preserve in Manatee County, highlighting the 22,000-acre wildlife sanctuary.

This footage, showcasing the panther, has garnered significant viewership and has been featured across various local media outlets.

Male panthers are known to roam over extensive areas, potentially covering over 200,000 acres, a range notably larger than that of their female counterparts. The Duette Preserve in Manatee County has become a notable spot for male panther sightings, as they roam in search of mates and food.

The Florida panther’s range is mostly in southwest Florida, in pinelands, hardwood hammocks, and mixed swamp forests. The only place with wild Florida panthers today is the southwestern tip of Florida. 

As of September 2023, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation (FWC) estimates that there are 120-230 adult and subadult panthers in Florida. 

Commissioner Van Ostenbridge expressed excitement about the ecosystem’s health, noting, “The appearance of a top predator like this indicates a flourishing ecosystem. It’s clear that the environment within Duette Preserve is in excellent condition.”

He further predicted more such positive news emerging from the County, emphasizing the importance of these preserves. “These areas are maintained to ensure that generations to come will have access to open and green spaces where they can connect with nature,” he added.

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