Sunday, May 19

Florida redesigns ‘Protect the Panther’ license plate

Residents of Florida can purchase a newly redesigned specialty license plate to support the state’s endangered panthers.

The “Protect the Panther” license plate features a photograph taken by Carlton Ward in 2018 depicting the first female panther documented north of the Caloosahatchee River since 1973 and also the first female documented to have had kittens north of the river in more than 40 years.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said in a Monday news release that the new license plate can be purchased at the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) or by checking with your local tax collector office for availability.

When renewing vehicles, the FWC said drivers can exchange their old plates for the new panther plate by going in person to their local tax collector office or the FLHSMV. At this time, the new plates are not available through online renewals but can be purchased in person.

Fees from the “Protect the Panther” license plate go toward the Florida Panther Research and Management Trust Fund, which helps fund Florida’s panther-related research, monitoring and conservation efforts.

The state said there are an estimated 120-230 adult panthers currently in Florida.

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