The Panther Murals
With more than 1000 people moving to Florida every day, mass development is threatening the survival of Wild Florida, the resources our residents depend on, and the ecosystems that make this state so unique. In the pursuit of preserving this state’s ecosystems, the critically endangered Florida Panther has become the ambassador of Wild Florida, as its survival depends on a statewide network of public and private lands – known as the Florida Wildlife Corridor – to facilitate its migration. By preserving this ecological corridor for the panther, we indirectly protect all of Wild Florida.
This series of murals is in collaboration with the nonprofit Path of the Panther, each telling a story about critical links within the Florida Wildlife Corridor that still need protection, and the resilient journey of the Florida Panther.
This 18x20' mural was painted in 2021, and is nestled within historic Downtown Sanford on the San Leon multipurpose complex at 201 Sanford Ave, Sanford, FL, 32771. Sanford is one of 75 cities nationwide that has declared themselves a “Monarch City,” joining the Monarch City USA movement to spread awareness about the dwindling Monarch population and take initiative by planting native milkweeds throughout the city.
Sanford also borders one of the critical links in need of protection to connect the Florida Wildlife Corridor – the Volusia Conservation Corridor. This preserve contains many of Florida’s iconic habitats (including freshwater springs, scrublands, sandhills, pine flatwoods, and central marshes), and is home to many endangered flora and fauna. Without this this section of natural habitat, our large migrators like the Florida Panther and Black Bear will not be able to combat the dangers of encroaching traffic from Central Florida’s expanding highways, and will not survive their migrations north.
The imagery of the Florida panther locking eyes with the Monarch butterfly represents the connection these two animals have in helping preserve all of wild Florida. By protecting a connected range of habitats throughout the state and native flora for these species, we indirectly protect all of Florida's rich biodiversity.
"Mirrored Migrators" species legend
1. Florida panther (Puma concolor coryi)
2. Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)
3. Gulf fritillary butterfly (Dione vanillae)
4. Little metalmark butterfly (Calephelis virginiensis)
5. White peacock butterfly (Anartia jatrophae)
6. Zebra longwing butterfly (Heliconius charithonia)
7. Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens)
8. Sawgrass (Cladium)
9. Rugel’s pawpaw (Deeringothamnus rugelii)
10. Largeflower false rosemary (Conradina grandiflora)
11. Florida scrub jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens)
12. Sandhill crane (Antigone canadensis)
13. Longleaf pine (Pinus palustris)
14. Florida scrub oak (Quercus inopina)
There was no better panther to model for this first mural than the female panther captured by Carlton Ward in 2018. This panther (accompanied by her two kittens) was the first female panther seen north of the Caloosahatchee River since 1973 - a monumental moment in the conservation of the Florida panther, and symbol of their resilience.