Florida panther killed in Polk County marks 11 deaths since start of 2022

A Florida Panther was killed on Polk Parkway near Auburndale, marking the 11th killed in the state since January. 

The panther killed in Polk County was a two-year-old male, according to wildlife officials. Panthers, especially males are on the move as natural Florida shrinks at an alarming rate.  

"The development happening in Florida is a boom for the state, but it is not great for local wildlife," said Dr. Cynthia Stringfield, head veterinarian at Zoo Tampa, which is home to three panthers.

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Back in the 1970s the panther population had plummets to about three dozen. Now, it is estimated to be more than 200. Stringfield said that is still very low for the population. 

Conservationists are trying to protect as much green space as possible. The Nature Conservancy, a worldwide organization, is responsible for protecting more than a million acres alone.

They are also trying to develop wildlife corridors so that panthers and other critters are able to safely travel from one area to the next without risking the danger of roads and highways.