Florida Panther Gets Back To The Wild After 10 Months Of Rehabilitation

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Searching for prey and discovering the world was only natural for a 9 months old panther. But one day, in May, she was not so lucky. She should have been with her mother and siblings, but she probably strayed too far and that’s when it all happened. A car hit the poor kitten and critically injured her. But someone noticed her and immediately alerted Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. They gathered a team and went to rescue her.

Let’s check her amazing story and see what happened a few months later and in the next years. She had quite an adventure!

20. A Panther Came to Visit

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A homeowner noticed something on his property. On a closer look, he noticed a feline limping and looking for shelter. He knew something was wrong, so he notified The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).

19. Hit By a Car

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The FWC knew this was another case of car accident. The poor panther had a broken hind leg, broken ribs, and bruised lungs. Along with the FWC, the Collier County Sheriff’s Office was helping out and so did the vets at the Golden Gate Animal Clinic.

18. A Group Effort

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It was a difficult rescue mission. The feline needed to be first stabilized, and that’s where Dr. John Lanier with the Golden Gate Animal Clinic stepped in. He offered preliminary care and then, she was taken to Naples…

17. Performing Surgery

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The young panther was then taken to Naples, Florida, to the Animal Specialty Hospital. There, Dr. Marc Havig had to insert a plate into the feline’s leg through surgery. You won’t believe what happened a month later!

16. Rehabilitating at the White Oak Conservation Center

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While the panther was rehabilitating at the White Oak Conservation Center in Yulee, she broke her leg and had to get into surgery for the second time. The veterinarians had to re-set her bone. Then, she finally got better…

15. Getting to a New Place

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After the panther got better, she was moved to a new enclosure. She first lived in a half-acre pen and now she was going to run in a 10-acre enclosure after the vets saw that her leg was fine. Human contact was kept to a minimum.

14. Recovering Wildlife

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White Oak Conservation Center is the place where wildlife recover and are taken care of, keeping human contact to the minimum. They let the felines recover and learn to survive on their own so that they can later be released into the wild.

13. Panther FP224

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FWC put a radio telemetry device on her collar to identify and track her. She was known as FP224 and after 10 months of rehabilitation, she was ready to go back into the wild. She would go to a remote place, away from cars…

12. Green Glades West Ranch

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In Southeast Hendry County, the Green Glades West Ranch was the best place for the panther to start he life. She had enough prey and the place was remote, with no cars to hit her again. On social media, this is what they said…

11. ‘Today is the Day!’

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‘Today is the day! Just under a year ago, a young female Florida panther was rescued in late spring with a broken leg from an apparent collision with a vehicle. She is now healthy and ready to be set free!’ The panther had a new chance to a fresh start.

10. A Successful Rescue

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‘We have been able to successfully rescue, rehabilitate and release this panther back into the wild,’ said Ron Bergeron, FWC Commissioner. Then he stated that they’re contributing to recovering the lost population. Panthers can get quite in trouble…

9. Recovering the Population

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Bergeron continued his speech at the event of releasing the panther: ‘this panther has a good chance of contributing to progress we are making in the recovery of this population.’ However, the panther had a different agenda!

8. Back Home

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Two and a half months after being released, the panther went back to the Golden Gate Estates/North Belle Meade area, the place where she was first found when she was injured. She somehow found her way back home…

7. Living the Life

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You can’t fight the feline’s desire, so the FWC just let her stay there and hoped for the best. For over three years FP224 lived in North Belle Meade and even gave birth to three litters, out of which only two litters survived.

6. Baby Panthers

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FP224 has now two kittens, a male and a female that are still with her and will leave her side at age two. The females will certainly live close to their moms, but the males will have to search a different area, far from the established males’ territory.

5. Cause of Mortality

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Unfortunately, many panthers die each year because of vehicle strikes. Out of 27 killed panthers in 2012, 18 of them were because of getting hit while crossing the highways. Later, in 2013, 21 panthers were born.

4. Panther Sightings

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There is a way to help panthers and FWC has put it in motion in August 2012, when they launched an online site – MyFWC.com/PantherSightings – for the public, to report whenever they see a Florida panther or tracks and upload the photos.

3. Management of the Species

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The public reports help FWC to manage the species and intervene fast whenever similar cases to FP224 appear. Then, they will rehabilitate the rescued panthers at White Oak. Some were released and others remained at the center.

2. What Threatens the Panthers?

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The biggest enemies of the panthers in Florida is habitat loss, making them roam and get run over by vehicles. Then there’s also the invasion of Burmese pythons which steals their natural prey.

1. Roaming for Food

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In struggles to find food, most of the panthers get hit by vehicles. Some fortunate felines get to survive and with the help of FWC, great vets, and White Oak, they get a new chance to live. It’s so great to hear that the panther lives a fulfilling life in the wild and she even had babies!

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