Photo: Carlton Ward Jr, Log Jump, 2017
Showcasing a collection of photographs by Carlton Ward Jr, this captivating exhibition celebrates Florida’s wild heart through the story of our state animal – the Florida panther. The panther was driven to extinction throughout its range in the eastern United States except for a small remnant population that persisted in Florida’s Everglades. Numbers had dwindled to fewer than 20 individuals by the 1980s, but heroic conservation efforts have helped panthers come back to nearly 200 today. The biggest obstacle for the panther’s continued recovery is access to enough of its historic territory throughout Florida and adjoining states.
Carlton Ward Jr is a National Geographic Explorer and photographer who has spent almost two decades fighting for the Florida Wildlife Corridor – a storytelling campaign he founded in 2010 that is creating a lifeline for the survival of the Florida panther and other threatened wildlife. Rising north out of the Everglades, the tale of the Florida panther has grown from the unlikely survival of a rare cat to a story of new hope for all wild Florida.
The photographs in the exhibit, which are featured in the new National Geographic film and book, Path of the Panther, provide an unprecedented portrait of the panther amidst Florida’s wildest landscapes. From the remote cypress swamps of the Fakahatchee Strand, to the
headwaters of the Everglades, the photographs will transport viewers into a hidden Florida that deserves to be seen and protected.
On view from December 7 – March 17, 2024.