Environmental

Panther Porn: First Photos Circulate of the Endangered Cats Having Sex

Biologists have captured what might be the first-ever images of Florida panthers mating.
Biologists have captured what might be the first-ever images of Florida panthers mating. Courtesy of Fish and Wildlife Research Institute
Imagine you were caught on camera doing the nasty and someone shared the photos with tens of thousands of people online who applauded and ridiculed your sexual performance.

Well, that's exactly what happened to two panthers in Florida — possibly for the first time ever.

Biologists with the state's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) recently captured what might be the first-ever images of elusive Florida panthers having sex. The NSFW images feature two panthers mating in a field of grass. They were captured on August 24 by a remote trail camera north of the Caloosahatchee River on Babcock Ranch Preserve, a sprawling conservation area in Charlotte County,

According to the FWRI, successful panther breeding in this area is vital to the endangered species' long-term survival.

"This is so important because it's the beginning of that next frontier for panther recovery," wildlife photographer Carlton Ward, Jr., tells New Times. "These mating panthers are truly giving new hope for the recovery of the species."
The images of the cats boinking — and the area where they were taken — are significant, given that few female panthers have been documented north of the Caloosahatchee River over the years. To Ward's knowledge, only three female panthers have been logged in the area over the past 50 years.

The mating photos provide evidence that the cats are expanding their breeding range, he says.

"The probability of getting a photo of a female panther north of the Caloosahatchee River is really low. The probability of getting a male and a female in the same frame is exceedingly low," Ward says. "And the possibility of getting a male and female literally mating for the first time seems next to impossible."

FWRI shared photos of the panthers before, during, and after sex on Instagram, where some users were quick to crack jokes.

"I love a good PP (panther porno) that is," one person wrote. "Amazing! He needs to clap more cheeks to save the species!" another commented.

In recent years, the panthers' survival has been threatened by car collisions, habitat loss, and a newly discovered neurological disease. Currently, habitat loss from development and sea-level rise are the greatest threats to the Florida panther's long-term survival.

Wildlife officials hope the mating event resulted in a litter of kittens. If this is the case, they expect the kittens to emerge from the den in January 2022.

Ward sees the photos as an encouraging sign for the future of the species and its continual path to recovery, especially given that they were captured shortly after the passage of the Florida Wildlife Corridor Act, which aims to protect the panther.

"It's exciting to me. Here we have this moment, two Florida panthers mating in a territory that they're just now starting to reclaim," says Ward Jr. "It's a new chapter for the Florida panthers."
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Alex DeLuca is a fellow at Miami New Times.
Contact: Alex DeLuca