'Good news for Florida panther conservation'
The presence of at least two panther kittens north of the Caloosahatchee River has been verified, according to a new report from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
The kittens are presumed to be the offspring of the first wild female panther documented north of the river since 1973.
“Verification of kittens with the female demonstrates panthers can expand their breeding territory across the river naturally,” Darrell Land, FWC panther team leader, said in a news release.
“This is good news for Florida panther conservation,” said Kipp Frohlich, deputy director of the FWC Division of Habitat and Species Conservation.
According to an FWC news release, biologists have monitored male panthers on public and private lands north of the Caloosahatchee River for several years using trail cameras. However, in 2015, biologists collected a photo of what appeared to be a female panther in the FWC’s Babcock Ranch Preserve Wildlife Management Area in Charlotte County. They sent additional cameras in the summer of 2016 and captured more images of what they believed to be a female panther, according to the report.
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