Carlton Ward Jr@carltonward

@NatGeo Explorer | Focused on the Hidden Wild | #PathofthePanther | @SeaLegacy Collective | Founder @FL_WildCorridor

PathofthePanther.org/

568 posts 122,739 followers 597 following

Carlton Ward Jr

Here’s a wet season shot from one of my favorite camera trap spots in the Florida Everglades. My goal was to get a panther jumping over the water. But this bobcat walking down the log was a beautiful consolation. I love seeing all of the different species of wildlife that rely on the #PathofthePanther. The goal is to use the story of the endangered Florida panther to inspire the land conservation needed to save the Florida Wildlife Corridor or and keep the Everglades from being cut off by development from the rest of America. @fl_wildcorridor @natgeo @insidenatgeo @nature_org @ilcp_photographers #floridawild #keepflwild


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Carlton Ward Jr

Photo by @CarltonWard | A juvenile coyote trips a motion-sensing camera trap on a cattle ranch in the Florida Wildlife Corridor. Coyote populations have expanded throughout Florida in recent decades and are now present in every county. Eradication of wolves and clearing forests for agriculture in the eastern US reduced competition for coyotes and created more of their preferred rangeland habitat, allowing eastward expansion from the Great Plains starting in the 1940s. Some people see coyotes as invasive pests threatening livestock and wild game, while others see them as beneficial — controlling rodent populations and filling the ecological niche of regionally extinct red wolves. Eastern coyotes are larger than their western counterparts, possibly due to hybridization with remnant red wolves. Florida panthers are know to prey on coyotes and observations suggest that coyote populations have decreased in areas where the panther population has recently recovered. #PathofthePanther #Coyote #FloridaWildlifeCorridor #KeepFLWild @FL_WildCorridor


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Carlton Ward Jr

While cattle ranching can be a source of environmental problems, such as clearing rainforests and introducing cattle to lands that never had grazers, ranching in Florida can be a land conservation solution. In a state under constant pressure from development that converts 100,000 acres of native and agricultural lands to rooftops and roads every year, the remaining farms and ranches protect green space essential for wild ranging species such as the Florida black bear and Florida panther, and vital habitat for dozens more. Well-managed Florida ranches can support as many endangered species as adjacent public preserves. There is also growing recognition of the role ranches can serve in preserving and cleaning water for the Everglades and other watersheds that provide nearly all of the drinking water for Floridians. 4G Ranch, in Pasco County north of Tampa, is the site of an innovative public private partnership where wetlands are filtering reclaimed urban water and recharging the underground aquifer at a rate of 5 million gallons per day. This photo was selected as the cover for the 2019 Florida Ranches Calendar. You can get your from the @carltonwardgallery in Tampa or FloridaRanchesCalendar.com. Shot during my #PathofthePanther project with @NatGeo @InsideNatGeo. #Florida #Ranch #Water #FloridaWildlifeCorridor #FloridaWild #KeepFLWild


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Carlton Ward Jr

Based on my my Instagram, it appears that I might have been a bit focused on panthers in 2018, plus a bear and a few landscapes too. Thank you for your support of my work, and to my family and team for helping keep me going. I’ll see if I can do a few more than 68 posts in 2019. Wishing you the best for the new year! #PathofthePanther #FloridaWildlifeCorridor FloridaWild #KeepFLWild @natgeoimagecollection @ilcp_photographers #2018BestNine


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Carlton Ward Jr

New Hope for 2019 — This young male Florida panther, still showing spots on his rear legs, triggers a camera trap on Babcock Ranch. It is possible that he swam across the Caloosahatchee River himself, or that he was born north of the river as part of the first generation of panthers documented is in this region in more than 40 years. Whether or not there will be enough land for panthers to continue their northward recovery in now up to us. If we can protect the Path of the Panther, we can ultimately save Florida, for wildlife and ourselves. Thank YOU for believing in the message of Path of the Panther. Our community’s support of this project is humbling and motivating. We’ve already exceeded our goal for the Kickstarter campaign which ends tonight at midnight. With just a day to go, we are setting a stretch goal of $95,000 to accelerate the impact of our storytelling (link in my bio). Additional funding will empower us to deploy a new photo and video camera trap system beneath State Road 80 — a dangerous barrier for wildlife — so we can illustrate the critical role that wildlife underpasses provide for the northward recovery of the Florida panther. We will also immediately invest in the next steps for creating world class documentary with our partners at Grizzly Creek Films. Your support gives us confidence that the Path of the Panther will indeed become a movement that will build the public and political will needed to save wild Florida. Thank you and Happy New Year! #PathofthePanther #FloridaWild KeepFLWild @ilcp_photographers


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Carlton Ward Jr

Welcome to the headwaters of the Everglades, where two worlds collide. Where ancient longleaf pines stand guard over a biodiversity hotspot and wild watershed bigger than some US states. Where new suburban sprawl pushes outwards from Orlando to accommodate 1000 new residents moving to Florida each day. Where fragile green threads, such as the Reedy Creek corridor, are squeezed tightly by development from both sides. Where Interstate 4, the deadliest road in America, threatens to become a concrete wall cutting the state of Florida in half, with only a few places left between Tampa and Orlando, such as Reedy Creek, where connected green space still touches both sides of the road. The Everglades Headwaters is also the next frontier for the northward recovery of the endangered Florida panther, such as this female reclaiming historic territory on a cattle ranch west of Lake Okeechobee. But will the Everglades Headwaters become what biologist Joe Guthrie calls and ecological cul-de-sac? Or can we protect enough of the Florida Wildlife Corridor to keep the Everglades connected to the rest of Florida and America? The fate of these lands and all that depend on them will be determined by our conservation and development choices in the next few years. Organizations like The Nature Conservancy work hard to hold the line by protecting and restoring habitats, such as the pine forest in the first photo at their Disney Wilderness Preserve. And the Florida Wildlife Corridor strives to tell this story. Meanwhile suburban sprawl marches on and elected officials fail to adequately invest in conservation. My hope for the New Year is that the story of the Florida panther will show us what we need to do to save wild Florida, and ourselves. Visit PathofthePanther.org to join the cause. I need your help to stay on the front lines of this story. Please check out our Kickstarter that ends 12/31 (link in my bio). @nature_org @joeguthrie8 @FL_WIldCorridor @insidenatgeo #PathofthePanther #FloridaWild #KeepFLWild


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Carlton Ward Jr

#Repost @bendicci (thank you for letting the swamp capture your heart too!) ・・・
Time. It runs through our fingers like quicksilver. Its breath fogs the mirror when we look behind. Its atomic dust swirls in the beams we cast ahead. It's the one thing we never get back. Very few of us have the courage to invest in something we may never see fulfilled. To wait for the extraordinary. The miraculous. This photo was taken in the Fakahatchee during the first week of production in Spring 2017. This coming year will be @carltonward ’s fourth in the swamp. Countless nights burning under the blaze of headlamps. Racing the bloodthirsty insects. The swarm of steel tractor blades, the shudder of concrete mixers, road graders, swamp dredgers - all of whom want a piece. It's an honest question: how long is long enough? How long is too long? But we realize our time down here is in the service of something timeless. With these limited resources, imperfect technology, dull human senses - we just keep on searching. For the place where time means nothing. For the place where the panther still walks. . . .
Recently, we've begun a grassroots campaign to invite others onto the #pathofthepanther . We're funding to continue our work on the ground. Only a few days remain to hit our initial all-or-nothing goal. Thanks for your support. Thanks for getting involved. Even if all you have to give are a few words of encouragement. Link in my bio.
. . .
Yes, you too can find this spot in Fakahatchee. Tip: just walk a few meters southeast of the giant moss-covered alligator skeleton. Or better yet, come on a field trip with us in 2019!
@fl_wildcorridor @grizzlycreekfilms @torilinder @mallorydimmitt @danny_schmidt @3bearsmedia @jeffreedfilm @ricksmith_media #pathofthepanther #floridawild #keepflwild


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Carlton Ward Jr

2 Part Video >> I need your help to stay on the front lines of conservation in Florida. Please visit PathofthePanther.org or the Kickstarter link in my bio. There are only 5 days left in the all-or-nothing campaign. By telling the story of the endangered Florida, we can create a movement to save the Florida Wildlife Corridor and keep the Everglades from being cut off by development from the rest of Florida and America. Thank you @insidenatgeo for making this video and letting me share it, and @grizzlycreekfilms for capturing the footage. There is a bigger story to tell and we need another two years of full time work so we can share wild Florida with the world with enough impact that the imperative of large landscape preservation will be become a widespread priority. Thank you to everyone who has followed and become a voice for this story. #gratitude #pathofthepanther #FloridaWild #keepFLwild


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Carlton Ward Jr

It’s nice when a customer’s request for a mangrove leads to rediscovering an overlooked photo in the archives. I made a short trip to the 1000 Islands the summer before last when touring a film crew from DC to a few favorite spots in the @fl_wildcorridor. Sometimes long-term project work becomes so intense I don’t stop to take notice of what I’m creating. #mangroves #sunset #everglades #floridawild #keepflwild


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Carlton Ward Jr

One cool thing about chasing panthers with camera traps is seeing all the other amazing wildlife that depend on the panther’s domain. This Osceola turkey skirts a seasonally flooded trail at Babcock Ranch Preserve in Southwest Florida. One of six subspecies of turkeys in North America, the Osceola (named after the famous Seminole chief) is the most sought after by hunters. This gobbler has a distinct beard extending from his chest, a head with red tissue that swells during courtship displays and iridescent feathers that shimmer in the daylight. #turkey #florida #pathofthepanther #floridawild #keepflwild


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Carlton Ward Jr

The Saint Johns River is the longest river in Florida, flowing 310 miles from marshy headwaters southeast of Orlando northward to the Atlantic Ocean near Jacksonville. The elevation change from source to sea is only 30 feet -- an average slope of just over one inch per mile. The river swells out into several wide lakes, including Puzzle Lake, shown in this aerial photo. Florida has 12 million acres of designated wetlands, the most of any state other than Alaska. Efforts to protect wetlands, including the Everglades, St. Johns and Suwannee, have laid the foundation for the statewide Florida Wildlife Corridor. I paddled through Puzzle Lake during the 2012 Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition working to raise awareness for importance keeping green space connected. This week's ruling by the Trump administration to role back protections of wetlands under the Clear Water Act exposes nearly 6 million acres of Florida wetlands to reclassification and potentially greater risk. Florida averages 50 inches of rainfall per year, most in the summer wet season, when much of the state's 40 million acres are acting as wetlands. When it comes to conservation in Florida, it needs to be land and water, because land and water here are so closely connected. #FloridaWildlifeCorridor #FloridaWild #KeepFLWild @natgeoimagecollection @FL_WildCorridor #pathofthepanther


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Carlton Ward Jr

A male Florida panther navigates a narrow trail as the sun sets over Babcock Ranch. Perhaps he’s getting an early start on a nighttime hunt for a deer or hog. A panther like this can have a home range up to 200 square miles, making him an excellent ambassador for the importance of protecting large connected landscapes within the Florida Wildlife Corridor. The state animal of Florida in the last puma surviving in the eastern United States, the Florida panther population has grown to approximately 200 individuals, up from a low of 20-30 when it was added to the endangered species list in 1973. But there needs to be more than 600 panthers to be recovered from endangered status — and the only that is going to happen is by protecting more land from development so that panthers can reclaim their history territory through Florida and beyond. Shot for my #PathofthePanther project with @Natgeo @nature_org and @fl_wildcorridor. #KeepFLWild @insidenatgeo @natgeocreative


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