A Florida man got a sight of a lifetime, four times over when he filmed four exceptionally rare Florida Panthers playing.
Ezra Van ventured out into the Everglades at least once a week takes snapshots of wildlife. But after a few hours, he began to pack up his gear when he spotted a rare panther stalking a bird. He reset his camera and started taking more photos. And then another panther showed up. And another. The one more.
Seeing one Panther is exceedingly rare, experts say, but seeing four is practically unheard of.
“(I) start taking pictures and another panther walks up and they both start playing with it. And another panther walks up and then all three of them are toying around with it. Then a fourth panther walks up,” he says, as CBS Denver recounts.
“They hung out in the grass for a little while, one of them looked over and meowed at me and they hung out for a few minutes then walked off,” he says. Van guesses they were playing some sort of game.
Everglades conservationists said he believed it was a mother with her three cubs. Those cubs stay attached to mom’s hip for two years before striking out on their own.
“That’s very incredible, Alligator Ron Bergeron, a conservationist, said ” If you go back to 1981, our estimates on panthers were 20-30 panthers across all of the Everglades,” Bergeron says.
“We put together a panther team to study it and today we estimate we now have somewhere around 180 to 230 panthers across the beautiful Everglades. It’s a tremendous success story on one of the most endangered species on the planet,” he says
Other Endangered Species Spotted
A group of North Atlantic right whales were spotted Sunday about 20 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard. The massive creatures surfaced near several New England Aquarium scientists conducting an aerial survey, the Vineyard Gazette said.
This is an especially rare find as there have only about four sightings north of calving grounds, aquarium senior scientist Philip Hamilton said in a statement.
“As the pair surfaced, the calf remained in very close contact with mom as it circled around her. It was an incredible experience to document a mother and calf pair given how crucial they both are to the recovery of this critically endangered species,” said Katherine McKenna, a research assistant at the aquarium’s Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life, in a statement.
The aquarium has identified the mother whale as Catalog #2420, who was first sighted with her newest calf on Jan. 11 off Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. This is #2420’s fifth calf. She has been spotted several times over the years in the calving grounds off the southeastern United States, but this is only her second sighting with a calf in northern waters.