Biologists with the Glorida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) have released an endangered Florida panther on private property in southeast Hendry County.
“We are pleased that we have been able to successfully rescue, rehabilitate and release this panther back into the wild,” said FWC Commissioner Ron Bergeron. “We believe this panther has a good chance of contributing to progress we are making in the recovery of this population.”
The FWC and partners rescued the kitten last May in Collier County after the panther had apparently been struck by a vehicle. At the time of her rescue, the approximately 9-month-old female kitten had a fracture in her right hind leg, rib fractures and bruising around the lungs.
Rescuers took her to the Animal Specialty Hospital of Florida, where she had surgery that used a steel plate to mend the bone together. After she recovered from surgery, the panther was transported to White Oak, a conservation center in Yulee, where she received care until she was fully healed and ready for release.
“We are grateful to our partners that helped make the rescue and rehabilitation of this panther possible,” said Darrell Land, FWC panther team leader. “Our thanks go to White Oak, Animal Specialty Hospital of Florida, the Collier County Sheriff’s Office, the Golden Gate Animal Clinic, University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.”