The Florida panther is a rare cat with only a couple hundred living in the wild. Panthers need to roam and with ever-shrinking habitat that means crossing roads.
2015 was a tough year for our state animal with 37 killed – 26 by motor vehicles (70%).
Panthers are most active at dawn and dusk, because that’s when their prey is most active. Unfortunately, this is a bad time for visibility.
It is harder to see while driving at dusk than at night, even though there is more light. Eyes use two sets of light-sensitive cells – cones for light and rods for darkness. At dusk and dawn, when the world is cast in shadows, our eyes shift from one set of light cells to the other and neither is working at full strength.
When drivers can’t see very well, their reaction time slows down. If something runs, flies or slithers before them on the road, they can’t stop or turn quickly.
When you’re in a vehicle on a rural road at dawn or dusk, ask the driver to SLOW DOWN FOR PANTHERS and other wildlife!
If you do, you might actually see wildlife safely, and that’s an experience that can’t be beat.