Two hunters in Devil’s Garden, Florida witnessed one of nature’s craziest sights when two extremely rare Florida panthers went to war just a few feet from their blind.
There are around 200 wild panthers roaming throughout south Florida, and while at face value this number seems quite low, it is significantly higher than it was in the 1970’s.
According to the National Wildlife Federation, the panther population bottomed out at 20 to 30 remaining in the wild at one point, putting this incredible animal very near the brink of extinction.
If it wasn’t for the great work of many scientists, passing protective legislation and introducing 8 female Texas pumas to increase breeding odds and genetic diversity, Florida would almost certainly be without their state animal.
While there’s still a lot work to be done, the species appears to have stabilized and wildlife enthusiasts are once again able to see these creatures in their natural habitat, although you generally don’t want to get as close as these guys did.
As the two hunters were sitting in their blind, they heard a murder of crows calling harshly and repeatedly, which typically signals that a predator is nearby. Sure enough, a young tom entered their field of view shortly after, and while just seeing him would have been cool enough, what they got to witness is a truly once in a lifetime moment.
Seemingly out of nowhere, a mature tom burst out and attacks the young panther, clearly unhappy he was invading his territory. The two start a fight to the death, just a stone’s throw from where the hunters were sitting.
As you may have guessed, the older male is easily the more dominant one and takes it to the young panther, pinning him on his back while trying to bite at his stomach area. But just when all appears lost, another crazy thing happens, and a huge wild boar busts out of the tree line and begins running at the warring cats.
The older panther gets distracted by the boar, which allows the younger one to slip away and run off into the high grasses, safe to live another day.
Not going to lie, I was hoping the victor was going to take out the rest of his aggression on the hog, but at the end of the day, all animals went about their business.
What an incredible sight.
If anyone doubts that it’s a real jungle down in Florida, just show them this video…