2 endangered Florida panthers struck by vehicles on April 1

Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:
Florida Panther
Florida panther standing outside of a wildlife crossing. CREDIT: florida-panther-east-collier.jpg, fStop Foundation, Copyrighted, All Rights Reserved – Used by Permission, https://www.fws.gov/banner/florida-panther-east-collierjpg

For the fourth time since the start of 2020, wildlife officials recorded two endangered Florida panther deaths on the same day.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Panther Pulse, a 4-year-old female Florida panther reportedly died after getting hit by a vehicle on Oil Well Road in Collier County.

Florida Panther
Cimarron, the Florida Panther at the Shy Wolf Sanctuary. CREDIT: Paul Dolan

It’s rare that Panther Pulse reports same-day mortalities. Below is a list of every same-day Florida panther mortalities since the start of 2020.

  • Nov. 12, 2023
  • Sept. 28, 2021 – three same-day mortalities
  • April 1, 2021
  • Feb. 19, 2020

Officials say the 4-year-old panther was struck by a vehicle on Oil Well Road a little less than a mile west of Oil Well Grade in Collier County.

This marks the seventh time in 2024 that authorities have discovered a dead Florida panther after a vehicle struck it, bringing the confirmed death toll of the endangered animal to nine for the year.

Florida panther
Male panther at the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by FWS, 2018.

“Vehicle collisions are the primary cause of death for Florida panthers,” FWC says in a press release. “The FWC encourages motorists to slow down and observe all posted speed limits, especially in panther zones, which are in place in several counties across South Florida and coincide with areas where panthers are known to cross. These panther speed zones help ensure the survival of the endangered Florida panther and protect motorists from personal injury.”

Also, on Monday, wildlife officials discovered a second dead Florida panther. This was a 2-year-old male panther reportedly struck on Highway 70, about four miles west of Southwest County Road 721, in Glades County.

In the last two months, wildlife officials have discovered five dead Florida panthers.

On Feb. 1, a panther was discovered after getting struck by a train in Glades County. Then on March 8, another was found in the Picayune Strand State Forest. The third was discovered on Alligator Alley near the Broward and Collier County line, also struck by a vehicle.

A female panther and her kitten, seen one month after being reunited in Naples by FWC biologists. Credit: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Monday’s discoveries were the second in Glades and Collier County. In years past, the majority of dead panthers have been discovered in Collier County. However, Hendry County accounts for the most in 2024 with three discoveries.

Vehicle collisions are the most common way FWC discovers dead panthers.

“Early measures to reduce panther deaths from vehicle collisions included lowering the speed limit at night in critical stretches of highways, widening road shoulders to increase visibility, experimenting with special reflectors intended to make animals wary as headlight beams were reflected in their direction, public information campaigns and rumble strips,” says the FWC website.

In 2023, all 13 reported deaths were the result of vehicle collisions. In 2022, 25 of the 27 discovered deaths were due to Florida panthers getting struck by a vehicle, while the other two were from unknown causes. In 2021, 21 of the 27 deaths were the result of a panther getting struck by a vehicle.

Florida panther
Vehicle strike statistics for Florida panthers. CREDIT: FWC

That means dating back to the start of 2021, 66 of the last 76 documented dead panthers by wildlife officials were the result of vehicle strikes.

“The most effective but also the most expensive measure was adding wildlife crossings to highways,” says the FWC website.

Panther Crossing is a Naples Zoo campaign that is designed to make roads a safer place for the state animal of Florida.

Athena, the endangered Florida panther at Naples Zoo. CREDIT: PAUL DOLAN

Panther crossing signs on the road remind drivers to slow down. While driving in a panther zone at night, drivers should slow down from 60 to 45 mph.

The Florida panther has been on the Endangered Species List since 1967. Officials report just over 200 are left in the wild.

“The subspecies is so critically endangered that it is vulnerable to just about every major threat,” says the National Wildlife Federation.


To report dead or injured panthers, call the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922) or #FWC or *FWC on a cell phone.

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