FWC, partners rescue injured Florida panther kitten - FOX 35 News Orlando

FWC, partners rescue injured Florida panther kitten

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COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) -

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and partners rescued an approximately 9-month-old female Florida panther in the Golden Gate Estates area of Collier County on Monday.

The FWC received a call about a panther kitten dragging its rear leg. A homeowner noticed the injured panther earlier that morning as he was leaving for work. When he returned home and saw the panther a second time, he notified law enforcement.

FWC panther biologists and law-enforcement officers, deputies with the Collier County Sheriff's Office and staff from the Golden Gate Animal Clinic responded to the area where the panther was last seen. They located the panther in thick brush and sedated it.

After an on-scene assessment of the panther's condition, FWC biologists transported the panther to the Animal Specialty Hospital of Florida. Veterinarians at the hospital determined that the panther had a compound fracture in her rear right leg, rib fractures and bruising around the lung, all of which were likely caused by a vehicle collision. That evening they performed surgery, using a steel plate to mend the bone together.

With the help of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the panther was taken to the White Oak Conservation Center in Yulee, where she will receive care until she has fully healed from her injuries and is ready for release.

"We are pleased with what appears to be a successful surgery with no complications," said Darrell Land, FWC panther team leader. "Thanks to the help of our partners, this panther has a very good chance of returning to the wild. With only 100 to 160 adults and subadults remaining in south Florida, every panther plays an important role in the population."

Florida residents can support conservation efforts like the rescue and rehabilitation of injured or orphaned panthers by purchasing a panther license plate. Fees from license plate sales are the primary funding source for the FWC's research and management of Florida panthers.

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