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Panther Roadkill: Sixth Florida Panther Killed By Car Accident Reported

Apr 29, 2013 02:45 PM EDT
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The ninth Florida panther found dead this year was located over the weekend by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commissions (FWC), according to the AP.

The 10-year-old female found in Collier County on Sunday is believed to have been killed due to a car accident, making it the sixth this year.

The remains were taken to the FWC’s Wildlife Research Lab for a necropsy.

The Florida panther, once found throughout the southeastern United States, is primarily endemic to the southern state with conservationists estimating 100 to 160 adults yet remaining in the wild.

A single panther needs a minimum of 50 to 100 square miles to search for food and mates, which often cause it to traverse dangerous roads. In all, more than 100 panthers have been killed by vehicles in the last 30 years in the state, according to the FWC.

For this reason, the Florida Department of Transportation has installed wildlife crossings, which allow the panthers and other wildlife to cross busy highways.

However, as the FWC states on its website, more are needed.

The agency calls upon individuals to exercise particular caution from dawn to dusk when the panthers are most active. And while it assures that most panthers want to avoid humans, the FWC does caution individuals to keep livestock in enclosed sheds or barns at night and to supervise children and install outside lighting.

Efforts to restore the animal’s numbers include the rescue and release of orphaned kittens.

This April, the agency announced the release of two siblings found in 2011 when they were just 5 months old. Now, nearly two, the sister and brother were released back into the Rotenberger Wildlife Management Area.

“These panthers most likely would not have survived without our intervention and the subsequent support of White Oak Staff,” said Darrell Land, FWC panther team leader, in a press release.

According to Lund, the primary source of funding for projects like these come from the purchasing of panther license plates by Florida residents.

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