FORT MYERS — An endangered Florida panther has died after being struck by a vehicle.
It’s the sixth panther death attributed to fatal collisions out of nine total deaths this year, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The remains of the 1-year-old male panther were found Sunday in Collier County on Alligator Alley, the toll section of Interstate 75, just a few miles east of the west toll plaza, wildlife officials said.
On Friday, the remains of a male panther cub were found on private land near the Collier County landfill, officials said. The cause of death wasn’t known.
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.
Twenty-four wildlife crossings and 12 other bridges modified for panther use were completed in the early 1990s within a 40-mile stretch of I-75, as well as a continuous barrier fence that directed animals to the crossings, according to the wildlife commission.