Two Florida panthers will be on public exhibit at the Palm Beach Zoo in West Palm Beach starting Friday.
"The arrival of these cats is an exciting moment for the Zoo. Our mission is to inspire people to value and conserve the natural world, and nothing does that better than offering them an opportunity to see rare and charismatic animals that are native to our own region," Keith Lovett, Assistant Zoo Director, said.
Lovett said the Florida panther is considered endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
The cubs came to West Palm Beach from the Oregon Zoo.
One of the two cubs was rescued in Washington State and came to the zoo on April 19. The second kitten was rescued in Idaho and came here on June 28. The panthers were orphaned when each of their mothers was euthanized as a result of coming too close to human dwellings. The cubs were not discovered until after their mothers were euthanized and each had litter mates that were not successfully rescued.
The zoo had exhibited a Florida panther named Colin Patrick for 17 years but the panther died in March.
"He was greatly loved by Zoo visitors, and now these kittens, although not born in Florida, will carry on his legacy as ambassadors to raise awareness about the plight of the Florida panther," Lovett.
The arrival of the panther kittens will be celebrated Friday evening at a Safari Night event hosted by Waste Management from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
The Florida Panthers Hockey Club Street team will be on hand on Friday evening along with a bounce house and games for the enjoyment of the children.