Rescued Florida panther, now 12 months old, will graduate to the wild

Posted at June 12, 2011 by Comments Off

The rescued Florida Panther Kitten that I wrote about last month is set to be released into the wild soon. “He’s grown up,” Steve Steve Shurter, Director of White Oak Conservation Center, said Monday.

The kitten, now 12 months old and about 85 pounds, was rescued from the Big Cypress National Preserve in the fall after its mother was killed. The Big Cypress National Preserve Panther Rescue Team, along with volunteers, rescued the kitten. The kitten was scrawny and malnourished, unable to hunt on his own. After spending several months at White Oak wildlife conservation center, the panther known as K 304 has been growing steadily, and he could be released back into the wild by the end of this summer. The state’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will determine when and where the panther will be released, Shurter said.


K304 300x152 Rescued Florida panther, now 12 months old, will graduate to the wild

K 304 in February. Photo Credit: White Oak Conservation Center

Cameras monitored K 304 over the past few months as it roamed a fenced-in area at White Oak, so trainers could make sure the big cat was learning the skills needed to hunt and survive on his own. There is a good possibility that K 304 will be released back in Big Cypress National Preserve at the Big Cypress location where he was rescued after its mother was killed, likely in a fight with another panther.

The endangered Florida Panther population numbers around 100.

Back in October, the kitten was rescued after wildlife officials learned that the kitten’s mother, FP102, had emitted a mortality signage from her tracking collar, which means she had not moved at all for at least two hours. The mother’s body was found in Big Cypress National Preserve, but officials could not find her two kittens. Using a hound, they were able to eventually track the 16-week-old, scrawny male panther, which would not have survived long on his own at that young age. The kitten was sedated, examined, and given rehydrating fluids, since it had not eaten in several days. The kitten had to be rescued a second time after the kitten escaped it’s pen at the wildlife rehabilitation center.

Story by Roger Real Drouin

 Rescued Florida panther, now 12 months old, will graduate to the wild

Related posts:

  1. Panther Kitten Rescued, and Learning to Hunt on Its Own
  2. May 20 is Endangered Species Day

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