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DATE: Sunday 9th
COUNTY: Collier County
LOCATION DETAILS: [Editor's note: The location details have been removed from this public posting because a BFRO expedition headed to this area in Feb. 2008. The tracks shown below were found not far from where a track was photographed a few weeks earlier by a different hiker. End > Editor's note.]
NEAREST TOWN: [Naples is the nearest big town]
NEAREST ROAD: Route 41
OBSERVED: Found 2 separate strange tracks a mile from one another.
One track seemed to show an abducted ape-like toe.
The other track seemed have left toe-prints that were unusually splayed out as oppose to a human print.
OTHER WITNESSES: One, hiking companion accompanying me.
OTHER STORIES: According to the BFRO, Collier County has the most sightings in the state of Florida.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: 8am tracks were found.
ENVIRONMENT: Environment was flooded scrub/prairie, with some non-dense tree hammocks. Bear & Panther habitat.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Caroline Curtis:
I spoke to Ed Casas on the phone and found him to be very credible. He forwarded me his photos and it was easy to distinguish between some human tracks in the area, and the "unknown" tracks pictured below. The tracks were first noticed by Ed's friend, Pete Coffey.
There are 23,000+ miles of legal and illegal trails in Big Cypress among 720,000 acres. The entire Everglades is 1,509,000 acres.
Thousands of acres of undeveloped private and farm land surround the preserve.
The informant, Ed Casas, works as the Activities Coordinator at the Palm Beach Museum of Natural History. He has a BA in Anthropology and Social Sciences. He also volunteers at Save the Chimps in Ft. Pierce.
This part of Florida is vast and teeming with plants and protein sources. The larger native fauna, such as bears, panthers and deer, are usually not visible from roads and trails during the day, but their tracks are noticeable and abundant because the area is so wet.
An open invitation BFRO expedition is being organized for the area the tracks were found. The expedition is scheduled for February 14-17, 2008. If you are interested in attending, click here for more details.
Here's a photo of the best left foot track. Click the image for a larger version.
Here's a photo of the best right foot track. Click the image for a larger version.
Here's a photo of the next best left foot track. Click the image for a larger version.
The presence of bears in a sighting area is a good sign. It means the area is abundant with a variety of food sources.
About BFRO Investigator Caroline Curtis:
- Worked as an Assistant to a Circuit Court Judge in Florida for thirteen years
- An avid outdoorswoman, growing up in the UP of Michigan on a family-owned fishing and hunting resort. Currently lives in the Hiawatha National Forest
- Certified Visual Tracker, Level 1
- Attended and assisted with numerous public and private BFRO expeditions
- She and the Florida BFRO organized South Florida Expedition 2008, North Florida Expedition 2008 and Central Florida Expedition in 2009.
- She and the Michigan BFRO organized the Lower-Michigan Expedition in 2011, Michigan UP Expeditions in 2012, 2013 and 2015. She will be co-organizing the 2016 Michigan UP Expedition in October.