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Panther kittens seen north of Caloosahatchee River

Posted at 11:15 AM, Mar 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-27 22:50:25-04

CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. -- In what's being called a "major milestone" in the recovery of the Florida panther, trail cameras have captured images of at least two panther kittens in Charlotte County, the first known sighting of kittens north of the Caloosahatchee River.

According to Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission, these kittens are presumed to be the offspring of the first wild female panther documented north of the river since 1973.

 “For many years, the Caloosahatchee River has appeared to be a major obstacle to northward movement of female panthers. This verification of kittens with the female demonstrates panthers can expand their breeding territory across the river naturally,” says Darrell Land, FWC panther team leader.

In 2015, biologists collected a photo of what appeared to be a female panther in the FWC’s Babcock Ranch Preserve Wildlife Management Area in Charlotte County. They deployed additional cameras in the summer of 2016, and captured more images of what they believed to be a female panther.

You can help with panther research by reporting panther sightings, and uploading photos and videos to the FWC at MyFWC.com/PantherSightings.

View more FCW panther photos on the Flickr Page.