A pair of wild Florida panthers were caught brawling on video by a turkey hunting guide in Devil’s Garden, Florida. It’s perceived as the first footage ever captured of such an event.
When Florida guide and land manager Andres Pis took to a blind southwest of Lake Okeechobee down in the Sunshine State with his son, he was probably only hoping to see a big Osceola gobbler come out of the cover.
What he actually got to see, according to CL Tampa Bay, was two endangered Florida panthers “filmed fighting in the wild for the first time ever.” What many hunters will recognize right away is the murder of crows in the background that will immediately sound familiar. The heinous squawking always tells a tale of a ruckus.
But that is surely not the sound or sight that matters the most, because you will begin to think that this is the African savanna and not south Florida.
Thankfully for these turkey hunters, the two big cats were only interested in tearing each other to pieces, and paid no attention to a pair of hunters out looking for spurs and a beard.
When a couple of Florida panthers make a sound like that, you know it’s on! The unique cougar subspecies has never been documented this way, and it’s a thrill to see.
The second that the brawl started the crows got even louder, showing that other animals in nature know exactly what is going on and why. Several of the crows even swooped in low to investigate.
It looked as if the older cat was trying to tear a leg off of the younger one, but thankfully a big wild boar rolled up like a freight train and intervened! Panther Man said in the video description, “As the battle went on, a pack of rather large wild boars came running in to the screaming of these two Apex predators. One of the Boars, was really hell-bent on settling some old scores I guess, and came in hot right up to about 6 feet and probably was the reason the younger cat made it out of there alive.”
According to Darrell Land, the Florida panther team leader with the FWC, this footage is the first of its kind. “I have not seen footage like this before, and it helps us to visualize what happens in an aggressive encounter,” Land said in a National Geographic article.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says that intraspecific aggression is one of the two most common causes of panther deaths, along with vehicle collisions.
The FWC leaves no doubt as to the legalities of hunting Florida’s panthers. They say, “Panthers are listed as an Endangered Species under the Endangered Species Act and it is illegal to harm or harass them in any way. There are approximately 120-230 adult panthers in the population.”
Look on in awe hunters, but don’t get any ideas. Feel free to take some amazing video like this, though!
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