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Dec. 14, 2023
FWC: New panther license plate available
A new Protect the Panther license plate is now available to Florida motorists. The new design features a striking
photograph taken by Carlton Ward in 2018 of the first female panther documented north of the Caloosahatchee
River since 1973, along with her kitten. The new license plate can be purchased at the Florida Department of
Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles or by checking with your local tax collector office for availability.
Staff with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) worked with photographer Carlton Ward
and the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida to design the new plate. The photo depicts a well-known panther —
an adult female who was also the first female documented to have had kittens north of the river in over 40 years.
The Caloosahatchee River has long appeared to be an obstacle to the natural expansion of the population,
including the northward movement of female panthers.
Fees from the Protect the Panther license plate go directly into the Florida Panther Research and Management Trust
Fund, which is a critical source of funding for the state’s panther-related research, monitoring and conservation efforts.
The long-term public support of this fund has had a direct positive impact on the FWC’s management and research
efforts, resulting in timely, science-based information needed to guide current and future conservation actions for
Florida panthers. The FWC and conservation partners have made significant progress with panther recovery and the
FWC’s panther program relies upon sales of the license plate to continue these conservation efforts.
Florida panthers are native to the state, with the majority of panthers found south of Lake Okeechobee. Florida panthers
are listed as an Endangered Species under the federal Endangered Species Act. There are approximately 120-230 adult
panthers in the population.
Purchasing a Protect the Panther license plate isn’t the only way motorists can help panthers — drivers can also help by
following all posted speed limits, particularly in panther zones, which are in place in several counties across south Florida
to coincide with areas where panthers are known to cross. Panther speed zones help protect both Florida panthers and
motorists from vehicle collisions and potential injury.
To learn more about Florida panthers and the FWC’s work to conserve the species, visit MyFWC.com/Panther.
Contact the FWC STAY CONNECTED:
Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission ·
620 S. Meridian Street ·
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1600 ·