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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.

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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.

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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

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