Photos by Carlton Ward Jr. @carltonward | This series is from a new story about the future of the Florida panther. Visit the link in my bio or nationalgeographic.com/animals to learn how new toll roads could block the panther’s path to recovery. I’ve been covering the story of the Florida panther for the past three years using custom-made camera traps through my Path of the Panther project with @insidenatgeo. The Florida panther is the last subpopulation of pumas surviving in the eastern United States. It has persevered because of its ability to live in the hurricane-battered swamps of the southern Everglades, where as few as 20 panthers survived the hunting and persecution that eliminated pumas everywhere east of the Mississippi River. It’s from these Everglades swamps that the panther has staged its recovery, and is beginning to reclaim its historic territory in the northern Everglades and beyond. Panthers need expansive territory. One panther's home range is up to 200 square miles—ten times the size of Manhattan. That makes the Florida panther an umbrella species, which means protecting habitat for one panther helps protect habitat for hundreds of other species. As shown in these photos, a Florida black bear, white egret, American alligator (with a giant salamander in its mouth), and coyote all share the same trails with the panther. To learn more about the different species, how these photos were made, and what happened when Hurricane Irma hit my camera traps a few days after this panther photo was captured, please visit @carltonward. We are following the story of the endangered Florida panther to inspire protection of the Florida Wildlife Corridor (@fl_wildcorridor). #floridawild #panther #KeepFLWild @ilcp_photographers @pathofthepanther #pathofthepanther.