Endangered panther killed by vehicle in eighth death so far this year

Endangered panther killed by vehicle in eighth death so far this year

The remains of an endangered Florida panther that died after being struck by a car were found on Monday, state wildlife officials said.

The two-year-old male was the eighth to be killed by a car in the state this year, and the 62nd to die since 2021, according to figures from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The panther’s remains were discovered along Interstate 75 in Collier County. Seven of the eight big cats to have been killed this year were found in the county in southeast Florida, according to the commission.

The panthers historically roamed across the Gulf states to Louisiana and as far north as Arkansas, but are now only found in the southern tip of Florida.

The wildlife commission estimates there are between 120 and 230 remaining in the wild. They are considered to be an umbrella species, whose health indicates how the wider ecosystem is faring against changes to habitat.

Four of the panthers who died after being struck by cars this year were one or younger.

The Florida panther has been listed as an Endangered Species under the Endangered Species Act since 1967. It is a third degree felony to hunt, kill or harass them.

Adult panthers are brown, grow to up to seven feet long, and can weigh between 60 to 160 pounds.