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Craig Pittman

PIttman holds book
Cameron Pittman

Florida's state animal has never had it very good. The Florida Panther was shot at, run off its hunting grounds and hemmed in by roads and development. It got so bad that by the early 1990s, only a handful remained. The tale of how the panther was led back on the road to recovery has several twists and turns, including a "happy ending" that has taken 20 years to materialize.

The story is told by environmental reporter Craig Pittman in his new book, "Cat Tale: The Wild, Weird Battle To Save The Florida Panther." He talks about the book with WUSF's Florida Matters host Robin Sussingham.

Scott Keeler / Tampa Bay Times

Tampa Bay Times columnist Craig Pittman says tourists need to know that Florida is so much more than Disney World:  "Some people think that there is no culture in Florida. They think our sense of architecture is Cinderella's Castle."

Pittman will be a guest on Travel With Rick Steves Saturday morning at 6 on WUSF 89.7.

Oh, Florida! On the one hand, a white sands, warm winter paradise. On the other hand -- alligators, sinkholes, pythons, hurricanes...you get the idea! Author Craig Pittman explores the irony of the Sunshine State in his new book: "Oh, Florida!: How America's Weirdest State Influences the Rest of the Country."