Florida Panther Mom and Kitten Reunited
May 26, 2022
COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. - Reunited, and it feels so good.
A 4-month-old Florida panther kitten was reunited with its mother in southwest Florida after a search that took nearly three months, local TV reports.
Staff members of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission learned about the lost kitten in March, the agency wrote in a Facebook post.
The kitten was taken to the Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens for a health assessment, and FWC officials used a towel with the kitten's scent to mark trails where it was found, hoping to attract its mother, WINK-TV reported.
When that effort failed, experts took the kitten to White Oak Conservation in the northeast Florida city of Yulee.
The next night, trail camera footage showed an adult female panther walking past the kitten release site, so the young feline was taken back to Naples, according to the television station.
"Attempts to attract mom with her kitten's scent failed and biologists pulling an all-nighter with the kitten in a cage in front of a live stream camera produced nothing, so we feared hope was lost," FWC officials wrote. "But on the third night, the mother found her baby."
The adult female heard the kitten meowing, and the pair were reunited, the FWC said.
"Telemetry data indicates the kitten is alive and well and trail camera footage captured the pair together," the FWC wrote on Facebook. "The kitten's expandable collar will soon drop off, after which time biologists hope to continue monitoring the pair with trail cameras."
According to the FWC website, Florida panthers are listed as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act. It is illegal to harm or harass them. There are approximately 120 to 230 adult panthers in the state