Panther kitten rescued in Collier County

CREATED Feb. 20, 2014

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COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. - A Florida panther kitten was rescued last month at the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge in Collier County.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission announced the rescue Thursday.

A team of biologists from FWC and the Conservancy of Southwest Florida discovered the approximately week-old panther kitten while conducting research.  The 1-pound male had a dangerously low body temperature and was non-responsive.

“We want to give any panther kitten the best opportunity to survive in the wild,” said FWC veterinarian Dr. Mark Cunningham. “But clearly this kitten was in poor condition and almost certainly would have died without intervention.”

Biologists transported the kitten to the Animal Specialty Hospital of Florida in Naples, where veterinarians and staff performed life-saving measures. Although his condition improved quickly, he still required 24-hour care.

Once the kitten was strong enough to travel, biologists transported him to Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. The young male is the fourth kitten and eighth panther to receive rehabilitation at the zoo.

Because this kitten was so young at the time of rescue, he will not learn survival skills from his mother and therefore cannot be released into the wild.