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VERO BEACH (CBSMiami/AP) — The Florida panther is one of the most endangered animals in the world, which is why federal wildlife officials are now offering  a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the shooting of a Florida panther.

Motorists found the adult panther’s carcass alongside a Collier County road on March 22. An investigation by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission determined that the animal had died from a gunshot wound.

Sadly, the remains of another male panther were found Thursday morning in Lee County after it was hit by a car. The body was found on I-75 near Corkscrew Road.

This is the 17th Florida panther death for 2015 and the 11th by vehicle strike.

The Florida panther is an endangered species, with fewer than 200 remaining in the wild. Intentionally trapping, hunting, injuring or killing a panther is illegal.

Florida law makes it a third-degree felony to kill a panther, with a penalty of up to five years in jail and up to a $5,000 fine. An additional federal penalty includes up to a year in prison and fines of $100,000 per individual or $200,000 per organization.

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

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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