The Florida Panther NWR protects the land of around 5-15 Florida panthers, as well as other wildlife, purchased pursuant to the Endangered Species Act. The breeding population of panthers is currently limited to south Florida and there are estimated to be between 100-250 left in the United States, after once roaming throughout the Southeastern U.S.
The US Fish & Wildlife Service purchased 24,300 acres for the refuge in 1989 and added another 2100 acres in 1996. The land is located 20 miles east of Naples at the northwest corner of I-75 and State Road 29 (Exit 80). It is west of Big Cypress National Preserve and north of Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve and Picayune Strand State Forest.
Florida Panther NWR is believed to have around 30 mammals, 700 species of plants and over 120 species of birds.
Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge is managed as part of the Southwest Florida Gulf Coast Refuge Complex. Its sister refuge is the Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge.