Tina Dorschel was out on a morning nature walk at the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in Naples when she came upon a an incredibly rare Florida panther. Or rather, the endangered species breezed right by her on a boardwalk on Monday.
“This gorgeous #Floridapanther seems to have unexpectedly found himself cornered while traveling around a corner on the boardwalk — and quickly sped up to get away. Panthers are shy creatures and this kind of encounter was a lucky and extremely rare experience,” the sanctuary noted on Facebook, posting the “amazing video.”
Or, as Dorschel put it:
“On on early morning nature walk we saw a gator, a snake, frogs, pretty birds, and had this unexpected encounter. (Warning…curse word at end!)”
In just a few days, the 16-second video has been viewed almost 4 million times. And just like that, the big cat was gone.
The Florida panther once roamed the southeastern U.S., but is now isolated to southern Florida with a population of 100 to 160 individuals. Just 20 years ago, the species numbered perhaps 20 or 30.
Through the 13,000-acre sanctuary, the National Audubon Society aims to protect Florida’s native wildlife and habitat.
Photos Tina Dorschel/Facebook