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Florida panther struck and killed by vehicle near Fort Myers airport

It’s the first panther death reported in the new year. A total of 22 Florida panther deaths were reported in 2020, with 19 killed by vehicles.
An abandoned panther cub rescued east of Naples in January 2014 was removed to the Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park.
An abandoned panther cub rescued east of Naples in January 2014 was removed to the Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park. [ DAMASKE, JIM | Tampa Bay Times ]
Published Jan. 5

FORT MYERS — An endangered Florida panther has died after being struck by a vehicle.

It’s the first panther death reported in the new year, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. A total of 22 Florida panther deaths were reported in 2020, with 19 killed by vehicles.

Related: Most Florida panthers found dead in 2020 were killed by cars

The remains of the 3-year-old female panther were found Saturday in Lee County on a divided highway that leads to the Southwest Florida International Airport, wildlife officials said.

Florida panthers once roamed the entire Southeast, but now their habitat mostly is confined to a small region of Florida along the Gulf of Mexico. Up to 230 Florida panthers remain in the wild.

Related: Craig Pittman’s Cat Tale captures the Florida panther’s extinction scare