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An Earth Day Note of Gratitude

Since I’ve had my little blog, I’ve been blessed with requests from biologists, scientists, park rangers, national wildlife organizations, and artists to use my photos — my tiny glimpses into the continually threatened natural Florida. I always learn so much from them all, and am incredibly grateful to have met them.

In honor of Earth Day, I want to give an enormous THANKS to all of those who work so incredibly hard, often in dubious and/or dangerous situations, for our beautiful blue sphere — the hands-on scientists and rangers working directly with the wildlife and lands, caring for the welfare of so many threatened and endangered critters and ecosystems. An equal shout of gratitude to the writers, artists, and outspoken voices of our wonderful world!

Most recently, I met Everglades biologist John Kellam, and he kindly shared his amazing research on the endangered Florida panther. To say that this is a special and rare glimpse into the lives of these magnificent and elusive animals is an understatement! I hope you enjoy John’s images and descriptive text as much as I did — and another thanks to him for sharing his work for, and obvious love of, these endangered creatures.

From John: I am a biologist; Since 2006, I have been a member of the National Park Service Florida panther capture, research, and monitoring team, and the lead biologist of the first successful home range and habitat use study of the Big Cypress fox squirrel (a Florida State listed Threatened species) in natural habitats (http://www.nps.gov/bicy/learn/nature/big-cypress-fox-squirrel.htm).

Florida Panther Kitten  (Copyright  John Kellam), Big Cypress National Preserve, Florida

Florida Panther Kitten (Copyright John Kellam), Big Cypress National Preserve, Florida

More from John: The kitten in the photos is 1 of 3 kittens located in female Florida panther #162’s den on August 15, 2014 in the interior of Big Cypress National Preserve.

Florida Panther Kitten,  Copyright  John Kellam, Big Cypress National Preserve, Florida

Florida Panther Kitten (Copyright John Kellam), Big Cypress National Preserve, Florida

When a female panther is denning and her kittens are @ 14 days old (based on radio-telemetry data), we wait until she leaves the den (typically to go hunting), then we locate the den and process the kitten away from the den site. Our medical work-up of kittens involves collecting biopsy, hair, and ectoparasite samples, inserting subcutaneous microchips (PIT-tags), obtaining body mass/measurement data, and administering oral medications. Once we have processed the kittens, we place them back in the den.

When kittens are handled at dens, we gain valuable reproduction information on litter size, gender, weight, genetics, and overall health of kittens. In addition, kittens with microchips provide us information on movements and survival if handled again as an adult.

Florida Panther Kittens at Den (Copyright  John Kellam), Big Cypress National Preserve, Florida

Florida Panther Kittens at Den (Copyright John Kellam), Big Cypress National Preserve, Florida

Here’s much love and good wishes to a promising future for these amazing animals — Happy Earth Day!

37 Comments Post a comment
  1. The animal kingdom is the most amazing thing in this world. And thank you for helping it to survive.

    April 21, 2015
    • Ditto, ditto, DITTO! Thanks so very much — and thank YOU for sharing the amazingly beautiful natural kingdom as well, through your words and images! 🙂

      April 24, 2015
  2. So appropriate to give thanks to all the field scientists who gather the data so that we can be aware of habitat needs and changes. Awareness and good information is such a big part of knowing what needs to happen to preserve our natural heritage now and for the generations to come.

    These little kittens are so adorable, you don’t even have to be their mother to appreciate their cute little faces…unlike say a Wood Stork baby!! 🙂

    Thanks to John Kellam for the work and for sharing these images with you and thereby us.

    April 21, 2015
    • Thanks so much for your wise words!! I’m still in awe of John’s photos — to say this is a rare glimpse is an understatement, truly. We’re so incredibly fortunate to spy such moments.

      But another note of gratitude to YOU for sharing the amazingly beautiful natural kingdom as well, through your words and images! I continually learn through your beautiful posts. Always. 🙂

      April 24, 2015
  3. Yes!! Here’s to those who continually strive to make a difference. And to the protection of endangered species – may there be hope for their continued existence.

    April 21, 2015
    • Hoorah!! Most definitely. Thanks so very much — and thank YOU for sharing the amazingly beautiful world as well, through your words and images!

      April 24, 2015
  4. Absolutely beautiful!

    April 21, 2015
    • Thanks so much — John certainly got some amazing glimpses into this rarely seen world. 🙂

      April 24, 2015
  5. bobca1947@comcast.net #

    Way cool on the black panthers!

    April 21, 2015
    • Hee! 🙂 Thank you!! They’re actually FLA Panthers, a subspecies of panthers / cougars. It’s hard to decipher, since they seem to change the classification every now and then. (As I always read: a taxonomy “difficult to resolve,” lol!”

      BUT…l I have known people to spy the rare black panther, not far from where I was born in Central Florida! Can you imagine…!?

      April 24, 2015
  6. Thanks to you and John! Fantastic work and photos. Perfect for Earth Day as we all share it with our fellow creatures! Happy Earth day to you as you share your own photos!

    April 21, 2015
    • Thanks so very much — and on behalf of John, as well! And happy Earth Day, every day, to you!! 🙂 We’re so lucky to witness such beauty.

      April 24, 2015
  7. Lovely pictures, great work!

    April 21, 2015
    • Thanks, on behalf of John! He certainly gets some amazing glimpses into this rarely seen world…

      April 24, 2015
  8. FAINT!!! SO glad to see this wonderful post. Thank you.

    April 21, 2015
    • Thanks so much, and ditto on behalf of John! Such an amazing glimpse into this rare feline, it’s breathtaking.

      April 24, 2015
  9. Pam #

    Stunning! The best part about blogging is the connection with people.

    April 21, 2015
    • MOST definitely — how else would we normally get such a glimpse into this gorgeous endangered animal? I’m always in awe of the community.

      April 24, 2015
  10. Sometimes, pictures are worth a thousand words — or far more. One of the great gifts of the internet is that it allows us to see so much that otherwise would be only words on a page or drawings.I think especially — but not only! — for children, it arouses curiosity and interest. That can lead to life-long commitments, and a healthy respect for the world we live in.

    April 22, 2015
    • You’re absolutely right —I’m continually in awe of the community we find here; the wealth of beauty and efforts towards our world. The things we’re able to witness, such as John’s rare glimpses into this gorgeous endangered animal, are incredible.

      And ditto, towards the educational value — not just for adults, but children. There’s a blogger in Europe who shares such posts with her own little one! I definitely would do the same. 🙂

      April 24, 2015
  11. Kudos to you for giving credit to the wonderful folks who monitor our natural world and its inhabitants! John has a pretty special job and that has to be the cutest fur ball I’ve ever seen!

    Keep up the good work in attempting to educate those of us who may get so busy rushing down the freeway of life that we forget to look out the window to see what’s happening to our planet.

    “EVERY day is our Earth Day!”

    All the best – Wally

    April 22, 2015
    • Thanks so very much!

      It’s truly amazing the community we find here; and the beautiful things they all do for our natural world. I’m continually in awe. To have such a rare glimpse into the lives of this equally rare animal is truly inspiring.

      Every day IS Earth Day! 🙂 And thank you for showing that in your amazingly beautiful images and blog — I always look forward to the species I don’t get to see that often — or at all!

      April 24, 2015
  12. The pictures are just great, they are so cute. And you know what, gratitude is always good. Thanks for sharing.

    April 22, 2015
    • Thanks so very much for your kind words! It’s easy to be grateful, I think, when confronted with such amazingly beautiful and rare glimpses into this magnificent, endangered creature. 🙂

      April 24, 2015
  13. a wonderful post and I love the panther kitten!! Good for you Fey to be committed to preservation and then honoured by the environmentalists for your beautiful photos!

    April 22, 2015
    • Thanks so very much for your kind words! It’s truly amazing the community we find here; and the beautiful works and things they all do for our natural world. I’m continually in awe! 🙂

      April 24, 2015
  14. Thanks for sharing with all of us.

    April 23, 2015
    • It was my complete pleasure — I feel honored to have seen such glimpses from John, truly!

      April 24, 2015
  15. As much as you are grateful to the “boots on the ground” making our world a better place…I express gratitude to YOU for sharing it all with us! 🙂 A very symbiotic relationship 🙂

    April 23, 2015
    • You’re incredibly kind — THANK you! And much gratitude to YOU for your amazing insights, images and words… They’re beyond important in today’s world. 🙂

      April 24, 2015
  16. Christina, this post is adorable! What beautiful images of the Florida panther! Thanks so much for sharing this miracle.

    April 24, 2015
    • Aren’t they amazing, Maria? I feel incredibly honored to have had this glimpse into the lives of these endangered, magnificent animals. Hoorah for John and so many others for their work!! 🙂

      April 24, 2015
  17. Thank you for sharing these amazing photos. The only reason I can sleep at night is that I know there are people out there trying to make the planet a better place… You being one of them

    April 25, 2015
    • You’re incredibly kind — and I’m the same! It truly makes me feel so much better…puts my mind at ease…with how many wonderful people are fighting for, and loving this beautiful planet and all its wonders. You, of course, are one of them as well — I learn an incredible amount from your posts!

      May 1, 2015
  18. Your outstanding posts continue to teach. I learn something new each time I visit them.
    Thank you FeyGirl.

    January 28, 2016
    • You’re so very kind! I leave all the credit to biologist John Kellam here, and his most amazing glimpses into the lives of these animals. May his hard work help to protect these beautiful creatures!

      January 28, 2016

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