TAMPA (WFLA) – A team of wildlife experts is working to care for a pair of endangered Florida panther kittens orphaned after their mom suffered from an unknown neurological disorder affecting panthers and bobcats.
Back in July, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission trail cameras in Collier County caught sight of the kittens’ mother, a radio-collared panther, struggling to walk.
Their mother’s health deteriorated and she was humanely euthanized. With her young kittens unlikely to survive in the wild, FWC removed them for observation and testing.
The kittens are being cared for at ZooTampa at Lowry Park, one of the state’s top facilities for the rehabilitation of this endangered Florida species.
“We appreciate the support of the public and their concern for these kittens, who just received their latest examinations in a series of checkups,” stated Dr. Lara Cusack, veterinarian at FWC’s Research Institute, “While veterinarians cannot predict to what degree the kittens may become affected, they are currently active, playful, and healthy overall.”
FWC says with the information from the mother’s necropsy results and extensive diagnostic testing will help experts determine what’s causing the condition.
Once the panthers have recovered they will remain at ZooTampa until a permanent home is identified.