May 17, 2023 - News

Florida panther license plates get a fresh look

A mama and baby panther are depicted on a license plate that says SAMPL

Image: Courtesy of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

A photo of a Florida panther and her kitten will soon adorn the state's "Protect the Panther" specialty license plates.

Why it matters: The 2018 photo depicts the first female panther north of the Caloosahatchee River — a barrier that usually limits panthers' range — since 1973.

  • Taken by National Geographic photographer Carlton Ward Jr., it offers hope for the endangered species' population, now estimated at 120-230 adults.

What they're saying: "It’s the most important picture of my career," Ward Jr. told WUSF.

Of note: Plates should be available later this year.

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