Dead Florida panther brings toll to eight in 2013

A Florida panther, rescued as a kitten,released back into the wild in the Florida Everglades, Wednesday, April 3, 2013, runs away from its game officials and photographers. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials reported its sister had been released earlier, after the two cats grew to maturity. They were found in 2011 after their mother was found dead. Only 160 panthers are believed to remain in southern Florida (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

A Florida panther, rescued as a kitten,released back into the wild in the Florida Everglades, Wednesday, April 3, 2013, runs away from its game officials and photographers. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials reported its sister had been released earlier, after the two cats grew to maturity. They were found in 2011 after their mother was found dead. Only 160 panthers are believed to remain in southern Florida (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission found a dead Florida panther Friday in the Big Cypress National Preserve.

The endangered wildcat, a 5- to 6-year-old female with a tracking collar, was killed in a fight with another panther, biologists said. The dead panther will be taken to the FWC’s Wildlife Research Lab in Gainesville for a necropsy.

So far this year, eight Florida panthers have been reported killed, five of them after they were struck by vehicles in Hendry and Collier counties.

Scientists estimate that as many as 160 panthers could be roaming South Florida, but the growing population is running out of room.

Monitors are looking for signs that panthers are setting up a new breeding population north of the Caloosahatchee River.

Anyone who sees an injured or dead panther can call the FWC’s hotline at 888-404-3922 or #FWC or *FWC on a cell phone. Texts can be sent to Tip@MyFWC.com.

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