COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. (AP) - Two endangered Florida panthers have been found dead a day apart. They're the first deaths reported in 2018, both caused by vehicle strikes.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says a 4-month-old female was found Sunday along Interstate 75 near mile marker 101 in Southwest Florida. A 3-year-old female was found dead Monday on Josie Billie Highway in Hendry County.
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.
Wildlife officials reported 30 panther deaths in 2017, including 24 fatal vehicle collisions in southwest Florida. That's down from 42 deaths in 2016 and the same number in 2015.
Seven panther litters with a total of 19 kittens were documented last year.
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