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Endangered Florida Panther Found Dead In Collier County

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A 2-year-old Florida panther is released into the wild by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) on April 3, 2013 in West Palm Beach, Florida.  The panther and its sister had been raised at the White Oak Conservation Center since they were 5 months old. The FWC rescued the two panthers as kittens in September 2011 in northern Collier County after their mother was found dead. The panther is healthy and has grown to a size that should prepare him for life in the wild.  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

A 2-year-old Florida panther is released into the wild by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) on April 3, 2013 in West Palm Beach, Florida. The panther and its sister had been raised at the White Oak Conservation Center since they were 5 months old. The FWC rescued the two panthers as kittens in September 2011 in northern Collier County after their mother was found dead. The panther is healthy and has grown to a size that should prepare him for life in the wild. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Another Florida panther has been found dead in Big Cypress National Preserve.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), the remains of a 7-year-old radio-collared male panther were found on the northern Addition Lands in Collier County.

By the time officials found the carcass, it had been scavenged pretty severely, however, officials believe the animal was killed by another Florida panther.

This is the 18th Florida panther death of 2014.

The skeletal remains are stored at the FWC Naples Field Office and will be sent to the FWC Gainesville lab for examination.

In the late 70’s and early 80’s, there were only a few dozen Florida panthers left in the wild but today there are nearly 160.

They are shy and elusive animals. Younger cats are forced to travel long distances because their habitat is saturated with dominant males.

In the process of fleeing to establish their own territory, some have been killed, including 12 cases reported so far this year, which were the result of collisions with cars or trucks.

Florida residents can support panther conservation efforts by purchasing a Protect the Panther license plate, available at BuyAPlate.com. Fees from license plate sales are the primary funding source for the FWC’s research and management of Florida panthers.

To report dead or injured panthers, call the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922) or #FWC or *FWC on a cell phone.

For more information on Florida panthers go to FloridaPantherNet.org.

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