Saturday is "Save the Florida Panther Day"

Gov. Rick Scott issued special proclamation last week

Headline Goes Here Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

MIAMI - Saturday has been designated as "Save the Florida Panther Day".

Gov. Rick Scott issued a proclamation last week that marked Saturday, March 16th, as a day to pause and reflect on the plight of the Florida panther and the task of preserving them as a rare component of Florida's diverse natural resources.

The Florida panther once ranged across the southeastern United States, but is now found primarily in South Florida. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says between 100 and 160 adult panthers remain in the wild, south of the Caloosahatchee River and Lake Okeechobee.

Wildlife officials have documented that the population has risen in the past two decades, largely as a result of focused conservation efforts.

Panther research, management and protection efforts are funded through the sale of Florida panther specialty license plates.

Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.