Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) biologists and law enforcement officers captured and relocated an endangered Florida panther found near the beach at Clam Pass Park in Collier County.
Beachgoers spotted the panther in the mangroves as they were walking over a boardwalk that leads to the beach. FWC biologists and law enforcement officers responded to the scene and darted the panther with a tranquilizer.
After a brief health assessment, biologists determined that the panther was in good condition. Biologists will use a radio collar to track future movements of the approximately 2-year-old male panther, which they estimate to weigh about 110 pounds.
“This panther was far from an area where we would typically see these animals, so we decided to relocate it to a more suitable habitat for its own health and safety,” said Darrell Land, FWC panther team leader. “We are thankful to the people who noticed this unusual situation and quickly reported it to us so that we could respond.”
Biologists released the panther in the Bird Rookery Swamp area of the Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed.
Florida residents can support conservation efforts like this one by purchasing a “Protect the Panther” license plate. 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.