Wednesday, April 16, 2014
FLORIDA PANTHER KITTEN AT THE WILDLIFE PARK
I went over to the Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park this afternoon for a training session for park volunteers. It was led by JD Mendenhall, and is part of a series of such meetings to help park volunteers improve even more on helping guests to the park better enjoy and learn from their visit and better appreciate the "Real Florida".
Shortly into the meeting we all traveled over to the Presentation Pavilion where twice each day a park specialist makes a presentation about a particular animal or group of animals to gathered guests. Today, JD was going to talk about our new Florida Panther kitten, and then we would be able to view it, far off, in an enclosure behind what will soon be its home, as it is being acclimated to the environment, noise, and people in the park. It is brought out for about half an hour each day at 10:30 and 2:30 for that purpose. Because of the unique circumstances of this kitten, it will never be able to safely return to the wild and survive on its own: the first other "animals" it ever saw when it opened its eyes for the first time were the Veterinarians that saved its life.
On the way over, I asked Park Manager, Kim Tennille, and Park Specialist JD Mendenhall to pose in the new park uniforms. That's the Fish Bowl behind them, the cornerstone of this area for the last 500 years or more.
JD opened with a fascinating telling of the story of this "miracle kitten" to an over-packed house.
We then each had a chance to view the kitten as it romped in an enclosure behind what will be its permanent home when it reaches 6 months. It is currently at 3 1/2 months and about 14 pounds.