Fla. panther rescued as kitten released in forest

Published On: Feb 01 2013 03:38:07 PM EST
Updated On: Feb 01 2013 03:40:13 PM EST
panther

Courtesy: FWC

NAPLES, Fla. -

A Florida panther rescued as a kitten has been released in forest near Naples.

Biologists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission released the female panther Thursday in the Picayune Strand State Forest.

Wildlife officials rescued the panther and its brother in Sept. 2011 in Collier County after their mother was found dead. They were raised at the White Oak Conservation Center in Yulee since they were 5 months old. The male panther remains at the center.

Darrell Land is the commission's panther team leader. He said Friday that the female panther was healthy and had "grown to a size that should prepare her for life in the wild."

The Florida panther is an endangered species. Officials estimate there are around 160 adult and sub-adult panthers in South Florida.

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