By Madeline Farber
Published February 21, 2019
Two Florida panthers were found dead days apart from each other, state wildlife officials said.
Officials with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) said Tuesday that a 2-year-old male was found dead off of Golden Gate Boulevard in Collier County. It was struck and killed by a vehicle, the Naples Daily News reported.
Just days before, on Feb. 15, a female Florida panther was found dead in Big Cypress National Preserve. The 12-year-old animal's cause of death is not yet known.
The male’s death marked the fifth Florida panther death this year, the newspaper reported.
Florida Panthers are an endangered species and have been considered as such since 1967, according to the FWC. In addition to The Sunshine State, they were once found in states such as Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and in parts of South Carolina.
Presently, however, “the panther is presently restricted to less than five percent of its historic range in a single breeding population in southern Florida,” the FWC states online.
The subspecies is threatened mainly by an increasing human population and development into their habitat.
As of 2015, there were an estimated 230 Florida panthers left in the wild.