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Black Panther

            Among national emblems and state animals, the elusive Florida Panther is proven to be one of the many historical animals driven nearly too total extinction. The panther, also known mythically as the “black panther” or “puma” is an elegant animal, yet it is faced with many problems. Due to in-breeding the massive cat is faced with many medical complications as well as the constant terrorism from humans. Poaching once was a key reason to their slow demise; now motor vehicle collisions along inter-states and state highways have proven to be the panther’s main enemy. The passive cats today, range only in the southwest lower sections of Florida, mainly in National and State Parks and privately owned reserves. Once stretching into Mississippi and Tennessee, the mighty cats have been systematically removed and are facing an immanent demise unless further steps are taken to insure their survival. .
             Beating out the popular manatee, alligator, and the key-deer, the panther was successfully adopted as Florida’s state animal (Florida Panther Net). Know by many, as the mysterious “black panther” or “puma,” the massive cat’s scientific name is Felis concolor coryi, given to it by naturalist and hunter Charles Barney Cory (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service). Many people refer to the panther as black, only due to the reclusive nature of the animal. Since the cat lurks in shade, near wooded and brush areas, the panther often appears black to the lucky few who may see it. The term “puma” is correct in many senses. The Florida panther’s taxonomy breaks down as follows: genus – puma, subspecies – coryi. The appearance of the panther is a masterpiece of art. The male will range in weight from 80 to 125 kg., the females weight varies from 20 to 50 kg. Overall lengths may range between 1.8 to 2.2 meters. The coat of the cat is referred as a “tawny” color with a lighter shade located on their bellies and inner legs.