NAPLES, Fla. — Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and Naples Zoo have partnered on a rescue effort for an injured Florida panther.
On Dec. 9, FWC received a call about a panther hit by a vehicle that was still alive on Oil Well Road, just west of the junction with State Road 29.
FWC responded to the call and safely transported the panther to Naples Zoo’s Glass Animal Hospital for a complete assessment. This is the first wild Florida panther to be treated in the facility that opened just a year ago.
Upon arrival, the panther received an emergency health assessment and treatment by veterinarian Dr. David Murphy. After x-rays and a full body exam, no major fractures or lacerations were found.
The male panther is recovering well, and he is being monitored by Naples Zoo’s animal care team and FWC biologists.
In 2015, Naples Zoo joined a collaborative effort with US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the FWC to assist with Florida panther rescue efforts.
This five-year partnership has helped to save five Florida panthers, though all have been too young, or their injuries were too severe to be released. They are hopeful this panther will be able to return to the wild once he recovers.
With as few as 20 to 30 cats surviving in the 1970s, Florida panthers once teetered on the very edge of extinction. Several decades of conservation efforts for this federally listed endangered species have increased the population to an estimated 120 to 230 adult cats or more.