A popular Florida license plate that promotes wildlife protection will soon have a new design.
On Wednesday, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission announced that the Department of Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles will update its Protect the Panther License Plate to feature a new photograph.
Taken by Carlton Ward in 2018, the photograph features a female panther and her kitten. The FWC says the adult female panther pictured is the first female documented north of the Caloosahatchee River since 1973, and the first one to have had kittens north of the river in more than 40 years.
The FWC worked with Ward and the Fish and Wildlife Foundation of Florida to design the new plate, which is currently undergoing final preparation. Once reviewed by the Florida Highway Patrol, the plate should be available for purchase later this year at local tax collector offices and the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles website.
Fees generated from the new license plate design are donated directly to the Florida Panther Research and Management Trust Fund, which is a source of funding for the state’s panther-related research, rescue, and conservation activities. over the past three decades, the trust fund has paid almost entirely for all aspects of the FWC’s panther work. The program relies upon the sales of the license plate to continue their conservation efforts.
According to FWC, Florida panthers are native to Florida and most are found south of Lake Okeechobee. There are approximately 120 to 230 adult panthers in the population.
For more information on the FWC’s conservations efforts, visit the Florida Panther Program through the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission website.