DEP Celebrates First Year of Care of Florida Panther Kitten

March.31.2015

Yuma at Lowry Park Zoo (left). Yuma at 8 months (right), photo by Joe Dube

HOMOSASSA – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Florida Park Service is celebrating the first anniversary of Yuma’s arrival at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park.

Yuma (meaning “Son of the Chief”) arrived at the park on April 3, 2014, as a three-month-old kitten. He was found barely alive on Jan. 23, 2014, by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission biologists in the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge in Naples, Florida. Apparently abandoned, the kitten was dehydrated and non-responsive. The kitten received emergency care at Animal Specialty Hospital in Naples and rehabilitative care at Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa. He could not be returned to the wild, so Yuma has been given a home at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park where he serves as an ambassador for his species.

Yuma is almost 15 months old and is healthy and active. The 80-pound panther has become a favorite of park visitors who can easily observe him in his habitat from the Wildlife Walk.

The anniversary of Yuma’s arrival at the Wildlife Park will be celebrated at the park’s Earth Day Egg-stravaganza on Saturday, April 4, 2015. Visitors will be able to adopt Yuma for a $20 donation to the Friends of Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park.

The Earth Day Egg-stravaganza event kicks off with a complimentary Easter Egg Hunt starting at 9 a.m. on the green behind the Park’s Visitor Center parking area. Families should arrive early to register their children and to meet the Easter Bunny and other costumed characters. Children will redeem the Easter Eggs they collect for candy.

WHAT:      Celebration of Yuma and Earth Day Egg-stravaganza

WHEN:      Saturday, April 4, 2015

WHERE:    Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park

                  4150 S. Suncoast Blvd.

                  Homosassa, FL 34446

There is no charge to participate in the Easter Egg Hunt, but regular admission fees to the park apply. Please contact the park at (352) 628-5343 for additional information.

The Friends of Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park encourage participants to bring canned goods for donation to the We Care Food Pantry to help needy families in the community.

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