NewsProtecting Paradise


Vero Beach man walks 200-mile journey for Florida panther conservation

Posted at 6:31 PM, Feb 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-15 10:04:24-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — There are an estimated 120 Florida panthers left in the wild and one Vero Beach man is going the extra mile to ensure that this endangered species is protected.

On Wednesday, Steve Fugate stopped by Palm Beach Zoo to meet Sassy, also known as "Sassafras," a Florida panther who arrived at the zoo in February 2016.

The visit is a part of Steve's 200-mile "love life walk" journey, which started on foot at Yeehaw Junction and will take him all over The Sunshine State in the coming days.

Partnering with the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida, his mission is to raise awareness and funds to help the Florida panther.

"I don't know how my love affair started with them but anyway it’s been there a long time. I just want to keep these cats alive, they deserve to live," Fugate said.

“It was a privilege to meet Steve today. He touched my heart. We need more people like him in the world,” said Janice Hudson, a tiger keeper at Palm Beach Zoo.

His trip will take him through the Florida Keys, Pensacola, and Tallahassee.

You can follow and support Steve through his Facebook page.