The new year is just over a week old, and it already hasn't been kind to the Florida panther.
A third panther was found dead this year in Collier County, this one on Saturday, at U.S. 41 and a half-kilometer west of Manatee Road. The 4-year-old panther was an uncollared female, reported Dave Onorato, associate research scientist with the Florida Panther Project. A vehicle hit the panther, he said in a news release.
The body will be transported to the FWC Wildlife Research Lab in Gainesville for a necropsy. The remains will be archived at the Florida Museum of Natural History.
Two other panthers were found dead in Collier County this year: a 4-5-year-old male along State Road 82, nearly four kilometers west of State Road 29, on Jan. 2; and a 3.5-year-old male Jan. 5 in a tomato field south of Oil Well Road.
In 2011, FWC reported 24 panther deaths, nine of which were caused by vehicle crashes.