Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Florida Panthers in Tallahassee

One of the best places to actually see rare Florida Panthers is at the Tallahassee Museum of History and Natural Science.

These magnificent cats once ranged across much of Florida, but the advance of man brought about a decline in the panther population and their range is now limited to remote areas of South Florida, although unconfirmed reports of big cat sightings remain common in other areas of the state.

The beautiful Florida Panther has long attracted the attention of man. Prehistoric Native American art found in the state includes representations of panthers and early settlers were very aware of and often waged war on the cats, which went after easily accessible farm animals for food. Many early writings about the state mention panthers and they also figure into the writings of early Florida writers including Marjorie Rawlings.

Many older residents of the state still recall seeing panthers or at least their carcasses during their younger years. Panther stories are a major part of Florida's folklore.

Today there are very few places where panthers can be seen easily, but perhaps the best is the unique Tallahassee Museum. Visitors there can take a self-guided tour past numerous native Florida animals, ranging from bears and alligators to beautiful Florida panthers.

The museum also features a wide variety of other points of interest, including a restored 19th century farm, the home of Princess Murat, restored schools and churches and much more. To learn more, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/tallahasseemuseum.

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