Biologists: 32 Florida panthers born in 2011

TALLAHASSEE — State wildlife officials say the number of Florida panthers born last year appears to offset the number of documented panther deaths.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, 32 of the endangered cats were born to 11 female panthers last year.

Biologists also documented 24 panther deaths in 2011. Nine deaths were caused by collisions with vehicles.

Officials say just 100 to 160 Florida panthers survive in the state. The population has been increasing since the 1970s, when fewer than 30 were found.

Three panther deaths have been recorded so far in 2012. Two deaths were caused by vehicle collisions. Biologists say the third death was caused by a fight with another panther.

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