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Cat Tale: The Wild, Weird Battle to Save the Florida Panther

Cat Tale: The Wild, Weird Battle to Save the Florida Panther

by Craig Pittman


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A Garden & Gun Best Book of 2020

“Witty and passionate.” —Lauren Groff

“Craig Pittman has a remarkable talent for telling stories set in the Sunshine State that never fail to fascinate and entertain.”—Gilbert King

“The definitive book on one of America’s least understood apex predators. The story of how Florida’s panthers were saved from extinction is one that both deserves and needs to be told.” —Dane Huckelbridge

It wasn’t so long ago when a lot of people thought the Florida panther was extinct. They were very nearly right. That the panther still exists at all is a miracle—the result of a desperate experiment that led to the most remarkable comeback in the history of the Endangered Species Act. And no one has told the whole story—until now.

With novelistic detail and an eye for the absurd, Craig Pittman recounts the extraordinary story of the people who brought the panther back from the brink of extinction, the ones who nearly pushed the species over the edge, and the cats that were caught in the middle. This being Florida, there’s more than a little weirdness, too.

An engrossing narrative of wry humor, sharp writing and exhaustive reportage, Cat Tale shows what it takes to bring one species back and what unexpected costs such a decision brings.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781335938800
Publisher: Hanover Square Press
Publication date: 01/21/2020
Edition description: Original
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 723,425
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Craig Pittman is an award-winning journalist at the Tampa Bay Times and author of 4 books, including NYT bestseller Oh, Florida! How America's Weirdest State Influences the Rest of the Country. His journalism has won 4 Waldo Proffitt Awards for Distinguished Environmental Journalism in Florida. Twice he won the Society of Environmental Journalists' top investigative reporting award. He was named a Florida Literary Legend by Florida Heritage Book Festival in 2020.

Table of Contents

Prologue: Cat Under Glass 11

Chapter 1 The Cat of God 20

Chapter 2 Pantherland 34

Chapter 3 The Hunter 44

Chapter 4 The State Animal 57

Chapter 5 Mouth to Mouth 73

Chapter 6 The Turbo-Vet 82

Chapter 7 The New Mr. Panther 96

Chapter 8 Medicine Man 105

Chapter 9 Bottleneck 120

Chapter 10 "Extinction Is God's Plan" 128

Chapter 11 The Vortex 137

Chapter 12 The Captives 150

Chapter 13 Hail Mary 158

Chapter 14 "Florida Will Be Developed" 172

Chapter 15 Mr. Influential 190

Chapter 16 The Showdown 202

Chapter 17 The Verdict 223

Chapter 18 The Whistleblower 238

Chapter 19 The Skunk Ape's Scapegoat 248

Chapter 20 The Wanderers 266

Chapter 21 Cat Cam Bingo 278

Acknowledgments 291

A Select Bibliography 293

Notes on Sources 295

Index 325

Reader's Guide: 339

Author Q&A 341

Suggested Questions for Reader Discussions 347

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