Panther #120 suffered a compound fracture of her rear left leg, severe
blood loss, abrasions and damage to her teeth after being struck by a
motorist during the evening hours on July 11, 2004. FWC officers had
increased patrols near Ochopee, slowing traffic through a “panther slow
speed zone”, due to reports from NPS biologists of panther movements in the
area. Unfortunately, panther #120 was still struck.
The officers had just warned the driver of a vehicle to slow to 45 mph,
prior to the car striking the cat. “The efforts of FWC probably saved the
cat’s life,” said NPS Biologist Deborah Jansen, “If they had not slowed the
car, the results could have been fatal. The installation of proper wildlife
underpasses and fencing throughout critical panther habitat would help
avoid these incidents altogether"
Biologists found the cat early the following morning. The animal was
transported to the University of Florida Veterinary School in Gainesville
for evaluation and surgery. After recuperating from the injuries, panther
#120 was transported to the White Oak Conservation Center in northeast
Florida, where she made a full recovery. Dr. Mark Cunningham, FWC
veterinarian, has been overseeing her care and brought her home to Big
Cypress on Wednesday, May 4, 2005.
Biologists know that at the time of being struck, panther #120 was rearing
two kittens. After the accident agency personnel searched unsuccessfully
for the five-month-old cats. The likelihood was that they would not survive
without the mother. Three weeks later the male kitten was struck by a car
and killed on U. S. 41, near the site its mother was injured. The female
kitten was never found and most likely has perished.
Recently southwest Florida has seen a high number of panther fatalities due
to being struck by cars. Since January 2005, 3 panthers have been killed in
cat/car accidents. In the past 10 years, agency officials have documented
55 panther deaths due to car accidents. The recent accident with panther
#120 is the only one of the 55 in which the panther survived.
|Update: May 09, 2005
Released Panther Killed by Vehicle
Just three days after being released, the Florida panther known as FP
#120 was killed by a car. The cat was struck and killed on May 7 around
6:00 in the evening. FP #120 was returned to the wild on Wednesday May 4
after recuperating from injuries caused by a car accident in July of last
year. The cat quickly returned to its old territory, where again it crossed
busy US Highway 41. The cat was struck and killed near the same area it was
injured 10 months earlier.