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Zoo-Rescued Florida Panther Adjusting to Life After Amputation An endangered Florida panther, named Walter, is moving from his hospital room to life in a customized panther habitat at ZooTampa at Lowry Park after a year-long recovery from a lifethreatening injury and amputation. Found with his left foot caught in a snare in Highlands County, the male panther was brought to the Zoo by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials. Unable to save the rare big cat’s front paw, the veterinarians treated the injury and provided daily oversight to help Walter recover and learn to walk again.

Walter, whose name comes from a philanthropic donor supporting the Zoo’s wildlife conservation efforts, cannot survive in the wild with three paws, so he will have a permanent home at ZooTampa. To ease his transition and ensure he can enjoy being active without risking re-injury, the panther habitat will have modifications made to best accommodate him and his limitations. This week, Walter will be introduced to his new home and will be monitored how he adapts. To further help his transition, Walter will remain in his indoor habitat until he is comfortable with his new surroundings.

“HEROES OF YEARS AGO, STILL AGLOW” Ten-time local author, Rick Rhodes offers a variety of educational programs:  The Underground Railroad  The Trail of Tears  Pre-Civil War America  Ulysses S. Grant  Civil War Luminaries  World War II Leadership

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 Exploring Florida’s Big Bend Gulf Coast  The Ohio River in American History  And more Rick’s tenth non-fiction book, “THEY Made America Great – 31 Endearing Legacies Worth Heeding Today”

“We are proud to be a source for panther rehabilitation and provide these cats the critical and specialized care they need in order to thrive,” said Ray Ball, D.V.M., Vice President of Medical Sciences and Senior Veterinarian at ZooTampa. “Florida panthers are an integral species in our native ecosystem and Walter is a great ambassador for his species. We are thrilled with his progress and recovery.” Walter could eventually join two other rescued panthers in the habitat in the Zoo’s Florida area where guests can see Florida native animals. Walter joins Lucy, who was found as an orphaned cub, and Micanopy, who was rescued last year. Since 1988, ZooTampa has rescued and rehabilitated 13 endangered Florida panthers, seven within the last six years. The Zoo continues to expand its capacity to provide excellent long-term care to Florida’s threatened

and endangered animals, including panthers, manatees, and Key deer. “Our team is deeply committed to the conservation of our state’s endangered wildlife and helping people understand their role in protecting these animals. We are proud of our collaboration with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials to save each one of these amazing animals, like Walter,” said ZooTampa at Lowry Park’s CEO Joe Couceiro. “Seeing rescued animals that are endangered in Florida is part of the unique guest experience offered at ZooTampa.”

St. Early Jerome Childhood Center Space Available for Fall


•Preschool for Ages 2 – 4 •Free VPK Program •Full & Half Day Options 727-459-5992 727-527-8287

A faith-filled Register Now! beginning 727-596-9491 10895 Hamlin Blvd, Largo Say you saw it in the Gulf Coast Family Newspaper

Gulf Coast Family - May 2018  

Gulf Coast Family's primary purpose is to encourage families along the Gulf Coast by providing worthwhile information that deals with family...

Gulf Coast Family - May 2018  

Gulf Coast Family's primary purpose is to encourage families along the Gulf Coast by providing worthwhile information that deals with family...