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Roy McBride [00:00:00] The school kids in Florida were asked what animal did they want for the state animal.

Roy McBride [00:00:06] It could be a bear, a crocodile, an alligator, a manatee and a panther. And the kids chose Panthers.

Roy McBride [00:00:20] And the game department didn't know if they had any. They didn't know where they were. They hadn't found any.

Roy McBride [00:00:25] And so, they dug me up. I'd already left there. It had been years since I'd been there. And they said, "Come back, see if you can catch them". Because this is a, you know, the school kids, they've chosen that as the state animal.

Roy McBride [00:00:41] So in 1980 or '81, I went down there, and they had a biologist, they had two or three biologists. They'd never seen a panther track or anything.

Roy McBride [00:00:55] But I went back to those places where I'd found them earlier. And on the first day, I caught one. I caught a male, a real old male.

Roy McBride [00:01:07] Six days later, I caught a second one. And it was a male also. And both of them were really old, real old cat, real poor and skinny.

Roy McBride [00:01:19] But then we began to see that they were all old, and they had all kinds of injuries and what have you. Some of them just had one testicle descended. They had this weird kink in their tail, which that didn't hurt anything, but that showed you something going on and its being passed on.

Roy McBride [00:01:39] So it must not be very many of them there, and there wasn't, you know.

Roy McBride [00:01:44] They weren't having any kittens. The kittens weren't surviving, the ones that did, that they did have.

Roy McBride [00:01:50] And we got the impression that they were really inbred. There were so few.

Roy McBride [00:01:57] It was, it was easy to see that something was going on. I mean, they were dying out.

Roy McBride [00:02:03] People weren't killing them. You know, they didn't even know they had them. They didn't ever seen them.

Roy McBride [00:02:10] So the next thing we did, and this really was a success, is I came home and I caught eight females, seven of them in West Texas, and one of them in South Texas.

Roy McBride [00:02:24] And what we were trying to accomplish is that we thought these cats were so old and inbred, that that's why they weren't having kittens and stuff.

Roy McBride [00:02:34] So I brought those females from Texas down there.

Roy McBride [00:02:39] And in a short time, they started having kittens. The kittens were living. It just changed everything. It really changed things.

Roy McBride [00:02:50] I mean, we caught one one day that weighed 165 pounds. And that's one of our crosses, you know, a Florida / Texas cross. That's big, for a panther, for those especially.

Roy McBride [00:03:03] Oh, this, this just really changed things.

Roy McBride [00:03:07] It was, oh, yeah, we were in the dark. We'd never done it. We didn't know if that was the solution.

Roy McBride [00:03:14] But gosh, it worked better than we ever dreamed.