How an endangered Florida panther was guided to safety after getting stuck on the wrong side of a fence
An endangered female panther was stuck on the wrong side of the fence on March 28, 2019. Watch as she is guided to safety. Courtesy of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commisiion and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Naples Daily News
A female panther was found stuck on the wrong side of a fence last month. But officers were able to herd her to safety.
The panther, whose age is unknown, was spotted by highway workers on March 28 in Collier County.
She was found outside the fence off State Road 29, just north of Interstate 75 and near the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge, said Carli Segelson, a spokeswoman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
"The fence is designed to separate panthers from traffic and to guide the big cats to wildlife crossings where they may safely cross beneath the highway," she said.
It's uncommon for panthers to get stuck, she said.
"Although we can't say with absolute certainty where the panther got through the fence, biologists found an opening where it may have snuck through," Segelson said.
In the video, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist, a FWC officer and a motorist worked to slowly guide her to an open gate to the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge.
The opening of the fence has been repaired by Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge staff, Segelson said. The fence is also undergoing repairs after Hurricane Irma damaged "significant portions" of the fence.
Segelson said the fence is around 50 miles in length, starting roughly at mile marker 101 and ending near mile marker 50.
To report sightings of injured or dead panthers, call 888-404-FWCC (3922) or #FWC or *FWC on a cell phone. Text or email Tip@MyFWC.com.
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