MIAMI (CBSMiami/CNN) — There’s a mystery disorder affecting Florida panthers and bobcats which is impacting their ability to walk.
There have been two confirmed cases of neurological damage in a panther and bobcat in Florida as of this month, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).READ MORE: South Florida Attorney David Weinstein Shares Reaction To Verdict In Derek Chauvin Murder Trial
The agency is investigating the cause of the disorder.
In trail camera footage, the animals can be seen stumbling and falling down almost unable to use their back legs.
WATCH TRAIL CAMERA FOOTAGE HERE:
In total, the FWC said they have seen eight panthers (mostly kittens) and one adult bobcat in various degrees of this condition.READ MORE: Jaime's Law, Named After Parkland Shooting Victim, Reintroduced In Congress To Require Ammunition Background Checks
“While the number of animals exhibiting these symptoms is relatively few, we are increasing monitoring efforts to determine the full scope of the issue.” said Gil McRae, director of the FWC’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, in a statement on Monday.
Florida panthers and bobcats are the only two wild cat species found in the state. There are only 120 to 230 adult panthers in the population, and they are listed on the Endangered Species Act. Determining the cause of the disorder can help officials minimize the impact it will have on the panther’s population
The areas impacted seem to be localized to only three general areas; Collier, Lee and Sarasota counties, according to the FWC. One panther was photographed that could be affected in Charlotte County.
At this time the FWC isn’t sure what is causing the disorder but is actively testing for various potential toxins, including rat pesticides, as well as infectious diseases and nutritional deficiencies.
“Numerous diseases and possible causes have been ruled out; a definitive cause has not yet been determined,” said McRae. “We’re working with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and a wide array of experts from around the world to determine what is causing this condition.”
FWC is asking for the public’s help to submit any trail camera footage or other videos that might have captured these sick animals by going online to MyFWC.com/PantherSightings.MORE NEWS: Florida Regulators Scale Back Citizens Rate Hikes
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