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FWC and Naples Zoo rescue Florida panther, release it back to wild

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says it worked with the Naples Zoo to...
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says it worked with the Naples Zoo to nurse a Florida panther that was hit by a car back to good health before releasing it back into the wild.(Naples Zoo)
Published: Jan. 5, 2021 at 2:03 PM EST
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NAPLES, Fla. (WCTV) - The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says it worked with the Naples Zoo to nurse a Florida panther that was hit by a car back to good health before releasing it into the wild.

According to the Naples Zoo website, zookeepers nicknamed the panther “Logan,” and he was released at the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge on Tuesday, Dec. 22.

Panther Release! After being hit by a vehicle and spending time recovering at Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens, this...

Posted by MyFWC Florida Fish and Wildlife on Tuesday, January 5, 2021

FWC and Naples Zoo have worked together to rescue panthers for five years now. The zoo says four other panthers have been rehabilitated since the partnership began; however, they were either too young or their injuries were too severe to return back to the wild.

“Saving species takes strong partnerships,” said Lee Ann Rottmann, Naples Zoo’s Director of Animal Programs. “We are very proud to be able to assist USFWS and FWC in helping this panther get back to the wild.”

FWC and Naples Zoo fitted the panther with a radio collar prior to its release, so they can monitor and collect data on panther movement, behavior, reproduction and more. The organizations will be able to share periodic updates on Logan’s progress.

On Dec. 9, 2020, FWC received a call that a panther was hit by a car and still alive. The crash happened on Oil Well Road, which is just west of the junction with State Road 29. FWC panther biologists responded to the call and safely took the panther back to Naples Zoo’s Glass Animal Hospital for a complete assessment, according to Naples Zoo.

Logan was the first wild Florida panther to receive treatment at the hospital since it opened in 2019.

According to the Naples Zoo, Florida panthers nearly went extinct in the 1990s. Now, the population of the federally listed endangered animal is around 120 to 230.

For more information on panthers, head to the FWC website.

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