Stroking a Florida Panther. Taken around 25 years ago.

I found this old photo, and just had to share it with you.  We were driving over to Daytona beach, and found this Wildlife Park.  It stated alligators, and a Florida Panther.

I remember it was a Wednesday, and we were the only paid visitors to the park.  They asked if we would like to hold an alligator.  We both said ‘No thank you’, and said that we came in to see the Florida Panther.

We were sitting in front of the wooden area, and 2 handlers brought out ‘Toni’.  They asked if we were frightened of her, and I said that I loved all cats.  I went up on the wooden area, and got behind her.  I asked if I could stroke her, and was told that I could.  She started purring, and they are the only big cats that do.

The handler told me that Toni knew I wasn’t afraid of her, and so I put my cheek on her back, and continued stroking her.  As you can see from the photo, both handlers walked away, and allowed me time with her.

Hubby came up after, and had his photo taken with her, but didn’t get as close as me.

This is a day that will always be very special to me.

Jungle Adventures, Christmas, Florida.


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