TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Panther Research Team released two female Florida panthers in Naples after local residents found deer carcasses and called FWC.
According to a statement from FWC, panthers have a high likelihood of returning to feed on their prey, so FWC biologists saw an opportunity to work with the landowners in an effort to safely capture, collar, and release the panthers.
Traps were baited with the deer carcasses and monitored through a remote livestream on cellular cameras. Both panthers returned within hours to feed and were trapped after dark.
FWC biologists came by and sedated the panthers, performed health assessments, fitted radio collars on the cats, then relased them after an hour-long workup.
The panther biologists are expected to locate the panthers two to three times a week via aerial telemetry, according to FWC. The tracking data should help “enable critical research into the health, movements and breeding success of panthers along the urban-wild interface.”
The FWC encourages residents to report panther sightings and panther depredation to their Wildlife Alert Hotline at 1-800-404-3922.
Footage and photos of panthers can be sent to FWC biologists online.