Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park has a new resident, Yuma, a Florida panther kitten who was discovered close to death in January by Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission biologists. Yuma was a scant seven-day-old kitten when he was rescued. He received emergency care from the Animal Specialty Hospital in Naples and the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa provided rehabilitative care.
The state park staff and volunteers have spent the past seven months preparing for the arrival of this new addition to the wildlife housed at the park. “It is an incredible honor to have Yuma at the Wildlife Park,” said Clif Maxwell, district chief for the Florida Park Service in a recent Florida DEP press release. “While we are saddened he cannot be returned to his natural habitat, this will provide visitors to Homosassa Springs the opportunity to view one of Florida’s rarest and most iconic endangered species. We are very proud to add Yuma to the Homosassa family and will enjoy watching him grow.”
The largest population of Florida panthers are found in Lee, Collier, Hendry, Dade and Monroe counties. An estimated 100 to 160 panthers roam the wilderness and are greatly threatened by the loss of habitat. Yuma will act as an ambassador for the species where visitors to Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park will have the opportunity to visit Yuma and learn about the species
For more information about Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park visit the state park website.