Florida

‘It seems easy, until it isn’t’: Watch an FWC officer herd a Florida panther to safety

Watch wildlife officials herd an endangered Florida panther

Florida Fish and Wildlife released bodycam video showing officials attempting to escort endangered Florida panther, that was trapped on the wrong side of a highway fence, back to the safety of the wildlife refuge.
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Florida Fish and Wildlife released bodycam video showing officials attempting to escort endangered Florida panther, that was trapped on the wrong side of a highway fence, back to the safety of the wildlife refuge.

Traffic was at a standstill March 28 outside the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge, all thanks to a runaway.

According to a Facebook video posted by the MyFWC, a resident had managed to make its way out a refuge on SR 29, east of Naples.

“When highway workers reported an endangered Florida panther trapped on the wrong side of a highway fence, a team effort resulted in a panther win… and our officer’s body cam recorded everything!” reads the recently released post.

In the clip, cheekily entitled “How to herd a cat,” a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist, FWC Officer Rubenstein, shows how the situation went down.

“It seems easy, until it isn’t,” reads the captioning as Rubenstein claps to get the attention of the panther, which is clinging to the side of the fence.

“Git!” yells the official. “Move!”

The panther then growls and hisses at the officer.

A helpful pickup truck driver appears in the frame, slowly backing up to encourage the wildcat to the gate opening.

“She was kind of stuck in the weeds,” the officers tells the driver. “Keep coming.”

The panther looks hesitant, then sits down briefly.

Suddenly, as the vehicle nears the endangered cat, it bolts and makes a break for it and re-enters the refuge.

The post ends with a plea to the public to report sightings of injured or dead panthers by calling the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922) or *FWC on a cell phone.

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