LEE COUNTY, Fla. — A new video from Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission shows panthers in Southwest Florida struggling to walk. FWC reports eight panthers that were showing symptoms of some neurological disfunction.
Based on the symptoms, marine biology and ecology professor at the University of Miami, Larry Brand says the cause could potentially be linked to cyanobacteria, commonly referred to as blue-green algae.
“Some of the toxins produced by blue-green algae do cause neurological problems. So one of the speculations is that these panthers could’ve been drinking water from the water bodies that have got these blue-green algae blooms,” Brand said.
FWC says they are testing for all potential causes including natural and human-made toxins such as rodenticide, a rat pesticide. They are also considering distemper, cerebellar hypoplasia, and degenerative myelopathy as possible causes.
Until results are determined, FWC encourages members of the public to submit videos of any panthers having problems with their rear legs. Visit MyFWC.com/PantherSightings for more information.