9th Florida panther death of 2023 happened in Hendry County

Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:
Florida panther

For the ninth time in 2023, an endangered Florida panther was killed by a car.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Panther Pulse, a 2-to-3-year-old male Florida panther died on Monday after getting hit by a car on Keri Road in Hendry County.

Every reported panther death in 2023, so far, has been caused by vehicle collisions. This is the fourth male panther death out of the nine reported in 2023.

Two out of the nine reported deaths happened in Hendry County, with the other seven occurring in Collier County.

The last death reported was on Sept. 18, when a panther the same age was struck west of the Interstate 75 toll plaza.

By Nov. 6, 2022, there were 24 reported Florida panther deaths. A year before that, there were 26 reported panther deaths.

Since 2020, FWC reports 85 Florida panthers have died. Since nine panthers have died in 2023, just over a mere 10% of the total deaths have occurred this year.

Seventy-four out of the 85 Florida panthers that have died since 2020 were the result of vehicle collisions. Other causes include starvation, intraspecific aggression, trains and from unknown causes. That equals 87% of deaths due to vehicle collisions.

Panther Crossing raises awareness so drivers slow down in areas where Florida panthers are known to live.

Panthers are also falling victim to a disease known as Felineleukomyelopathy, or FLM.

Mark Cunningham, a subsection leader with Florida Fish and Wildlife, addressed the development of the disease. He said that it has long-lasting effects on panthers: “The damage is permanent, and it causes permanent impairment to their ability to move.”

It’s unclear if the lower number of deaths is a cause for concern or a positive sign.

FWC said that there are between 120 and 230 adult panthers left in the wild.

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