COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. - A deputy had a close encounter with an endangered and rarely seen Florida panther in Naples, quickly rolling up her window as it approached her.
Footage captured by the deputy, identified by the Collier County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) as Community Service Deputy (CSD) Brandi Ahrens, shows the panther running towards the vehicle.
"CSD Ahrens was typing a report in her work vehicle along the CREW Bird Rookery Swamp public hiking trail off Shady Hollow Boulevard around 8.30 am when she saw something moving out of the corner of her eye," wrote the Collier County Sheriff’s Office on Facebook. "It was a Florida panther, and it was heading her way."
According to the National Wildlife Federation" (NWF), there are only 120 to 130 Florida panthers left in the wild.
"The subspecies is so critically endangered that it is vulnerable to just about every major threat," including habitat-loss due to construction, pollution, and busy roadways.