Panther kitten found in Fla. state park - WFLA News Channel 8

Panther kitten found in Fla. state park

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COPELAND, FL (WFLA) -

A female Florida panther raised in captivity and released into the wild a few months ago gave birth to a kitten, biologists with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission told us.

They found the 1-month-old female kitten Saturday in the Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park in southwest Florida. This was near the location where they had released the adult panther in January, according to an FWC report.

"The fact that this panther has given birth is positive news for the recovery of this endangered species and a testament to the hard work of all involved in its rescue and rehabilitation," said Dave Onorato, FWC panther biologist.

Biologists evaluated the kitten's health and tagged it. They said it looked healthy and feisty.

"The kitten has a chance of one day contributing to the population as well," said Onorato.

The female panther was rescued with its brother as 5-month-old kittens, after their mother was found dead.  They grew up at the White Oak Conservation Center in Yulee until they were ready for release, FWC representatives told us.

An estimated 100 to 160 adult and sub-adult panthers remain in south Florida, according to FWC.

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