It's not unusual to find a Florida panther among the other "big cats" in a typical Florida zoo. But the Palm Beach Zoo's new arrival is one with a poignant history.
The 12-year-old Florida panther named Mirasol -- nicknamed "Mira" -- is in quarantine at the Palm Beach Zoo and will be seen by visitors starting next month.
Mira had lived virtually her entire life at the South Florida Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Homestead. But when its founder was diagnosed with a terminal illness, he contacted state wildlife officials to help him find homes for his animals.
Southwest 132nd Avenue was on the edge of Miami in 1972, when Marily Reyes and her husband Frank moved into their new home just south of Bird Road. Their view across the narrow avenue was elephant grass for six long years.
Is there any animal more closely associated with the Everglades than the American alligator? OK, the Burmese python has been the 'glades press "darling" as of late, but invasive, non-natives do not count for the purposes of celebrating the Everglades. While Florida's iconic reptilian king deserves all of the attention it gets, there are plenty of other cool critters that inhabit the Everglades.
Today's Florida panther is struggling for survival, but things could've been much worse, according to a recent report from the University of Florida. Research shows Florida's big cats were given a boost in 1995, when eight female cougars from Texas were brought in to help diversify the ailing Florida population, the News-Press reports.