Learn all about exotic big cats at Panther Ridge Conservation Center

The non-profit conservation center in Loxahatchee Groves, Florida houses cheetah, jaguar, leopard & other endangered cat species.

It’s time to stop texting, and start driving! We’ve partnered with Steinger, Greene & Feiner to encourage you to put the phone down, focus on the road ahead, and drive somewhere amazing in South Florida. If you’ve never visited Panther Ridge Conservation Center in Loxahatchee Groves, you need to hit the road! It’s an amazing educational experience for kids and adults of all ages.

Panther Ridge started about 25 years ago when Judy Berens decided she wanted to get a small exotic cat as a personal pet. She went through training and apprenticeship to get a license from the state of Florida to own the cat. Pretty soon after,  rescue facilities started asking her to help take care of animals who had been surrendered…

“From my one little personal pet, I started accumulating cats that needed help and became primarily a rescue facility,” said Berens. “But now, in the last 20 years I see what’s going on in the world, these cats are in desperate need for help. They are being totally wiped out in their native habitats and we are now focusing more on education.”

Panther Ridge has nine different species, from puma to cheetah, fishing cats, black leopards, panthers, and more. Right now, there are 19 big cats at the facility.

“They come from all kinds of backgrounds,” said Berens. “We have taken cats in from for instance, zoos after natural disaster, we’ve taken cats in that I’ve received a call that there’s an animal in a garage somewhere that needs help, some of them are just relinquished to us.”

Panther Ridge offers tours by appointment. The tours are generally given by the keepers who actually care for all of the cat. So, you not only learn about the needs of each species — but each individual animal who lives at Panther Ridge!

“Panther Ridge is a very unique facility,” said Lisa Dauphinais, a keeper at Panther Ridge. “If you go to a big zoo, you’re not going to be able to see those animals up close and personal. At Panther Ridge, you’re able to get up close to these animals, from a safe distance, and see their beauty and their power as well as learn a lot about each individual and how they came to Panther Ridge.”

Overall, Berens wants visitors to know that Panther Ridge is a safe haven for rescued big cats. And most importantly…

“That it’s a magical place, and these animals are so happy and they’ve found a forever home,” she said. “It’s well worth coming to get an education about what’s going on in the world with all of these species.”

Panther Ridge is a non-profit and welcomes any donations. The Center is currently looking to expand its location and create larger living areas for the cats. Click here to donate!

Stop Texting Start Driving is sponsored by Steinger, Greene, and Feiner.