News Releases

Naples Zoo welcomes Florida Panther Festival

News Release

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Media contact: Carli Segelson, 772-215-9459,

Come celebrate our native wildlife at the Florida Panther Festival on Saturday, Nov. 5 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens. Guests will have the opportunity to see a living panther. Experts on panthers and other species will give practical presentations on living with wildlife and will be available for discussions. Since this is the first Saturday of the month, Collier County residents receive free admission. For other visitors, the festival activities at the zoo are included with regular admission.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will also host an Exotic Pet Amnesty Day to provide a home for unwanted exotic pets to ensure they are not released into the wild.

The festival provides an easily accessible way for families to learn the best ways to live with our native species and get their questions answered by biologists and other professional wildlife experts. Guests may even sign up for bonus field trip experiences to local natural areas with the experts via FloridaPantherFestival.comExternal Website

In concert with the festival, the FWC, Southwest Florida Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area and Naples Zoo are holding an Exotic Pet Amnesty Day. People can learn about invasive species in southwest Florida and surrender their exotic pets without penalty or cost, whether they are being kept legally or illegally. Surrendered exotic pets will be accepted between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on the east side of the zoo’s parking area. This event is open and free to the public. Animals that will be accepted for surrender include nonnative species of reptiles, amphibians, mammals, birds, fish and invertebrates. Domestic animals, such as cats, dogs, guinea pigs and rabbits, will not be accepted.

Pets will receive a health exam by a veterinarian before being made available for adoption after 2 p.m. Becoming an adopter is free, but you are required to register a minimum of four days prior to the event to adopt an animal. Adopter applications can be found at Potential adopters must bring their acceptance letters and any necessary permits with them. The FWC’s Exotic Pet Amnesty program helps to reduce the number of nonnative species being released into the wild. Exotic pet owners who cannot attend this event may call 888-Ive-Got1 (888-483-4681) for assistance in finding a new home for their animal year-round.

The Florida Panther Festival is being hosted by Naples Zoo as part of a collaboration with Big Cypress National Preserve; Conservancy of Southwest Florida; Defenders of Wildlife; FWC; Florida Gulf Coast University’s Wings of Hope program; Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge; Friends of the Florida Panther Refuge; Hodges University; Naples, Marco Island Everglades Convention and Visitors Bureau; and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

About Naples Zoo Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization cooperating in conservation programs both in and outside the wild for endangered species. Naples Zoo, 1590 Goodlette-Frank Road, welcomes guests daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the last ticket sold at 4 p.m. To learn more, go to External Website or call 239-262-5409.

FWC Facts:
The number of Florida residents who participate in wildlife viewing around their homes (3.3 million) would rank them as the 22nd largest state in the nation.

Learn More at AskFWC