NAPLES, Fla. - An endangered Florida panther kitten has died after being struck by a vehicle.
It’s the third panther death attributed to fatal collisions, out of three total deaths this year, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
The remains of the 2-month-old male panther were found Saturday along a rural road in Collier County, wildlife officials said.
A total of 27 Florida panthers were found dead last year, with 21 deaths attributed to vehicles, according to state records. That was up from 22 total deaths in 2020.
Florida panthers once roamed the entire Southeast, but now their habitat mostly is confined to a small region of Florida along the Gulf of Mexico. Up to 230 Florida panthers remain in the wild.
The endangered panther, the official state animal, has been on the federal endangered species list since the 1960s, and in recent years, dozens have been killed annually – and it's mostly due to car accidents.