Florida panther killed on I-75
By ERIC STAATS
An endangered Florida panther was killed last night after getting struck by an eastbound vehicle on Interstate 75 in Collier County, state biologists said today.
The male panther, weighing 154 pounds and between 4 and 5 years old, was the second panther so far this year to be killed in a collision with a vehicle and the third panther death overall, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
The wildcat was large enough to cause the vehicle's airbags to deploy and take off its radiator, but the couple inside the car were not injured, Conservation Commission panther biologist Mark Lotz said.
The collision happened shortly after 9 p.m. near mile marker 95, which is midway between the Alligator Alley toolbooth and Everglades Boulevard, panther team leader Darrell Land said.
That part of Alligator Alley is lined with 4 foot tall fences that panthers can easily leap over. Further east of the collision spot, where wildlife crossings are built under the interstate, the fencing is 10 feet tall and topped with three rows of barbed wire.
Land said the fence is only 4 feet tall where there are no wildlife crossings so as not to cut off panthers' access to habitat north of I-75.
Two other panthers have been killed in the past year along the same stretch of I-75. A male panther was killed at mile marker 90 in August, and a female panther was killed near mile marker 96 in September.
The panther killed last night had been equipped with a radio-tracking collar and GPS tracking device this past January, one of 10 wildcats biologists captured and collared this winter, Lotz said.
In the two months biologists had been tracking the panther, it had crossed I-75 regularly and probably had been doing the same thing before it was collared, Land said.
"We caught him before his luck ran out," Land said.
3.15.10. FWC received a call this morning from staff at the Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed (CREW) about a dead female panther found along Corkscrew Road at the Marsh Unit 1 trailhead, Collier County, FL. The female panther, UCFP139, appeared to have been struck by vehicle and killed sometime during the night of 3/11/10 based on degree of rigor mortis and the lack of tracks leading to the carcass following yesterday’s heavy rain. UCFP139 weighed 68 lbs., did not have a kinked tail or a cowlick and no transponder chip was detected. UCFP139 was approximately 3 years of age. This is the first roadkill of 2010 and the second mortality overall. The remains have been placed in a freezer at the Naples Office and will be eventually transported to Gainesville for a necropsy. Following the necropsy, the remains will be archived at the FL Museum of Natural History.
First death of 2010. Intraspecific aggression
1-19-2010, UCFP137. FWC Dispatch received a call late yesterday about a possible dead panther just west of CREW lands and about 1 mile south of Corkscrew Road in Lee County, FL. The panther was found by a citizen who saw vultures feeding and thought they may have found a dead calf. FWC LE investigated last night and confirmed the presence of a panther carcass. The FWC panther team recovered the carcass this morning. The male panther, UCFP137 was approximately 2.5 years of age and did not have a kinked tail nor a cowlick. The cause of death is preliminarily considered intraspecific aggression because of puncture wounds on the forearms and hind limbs as well as the presence of hair imbedded in the claws on the rear legs. This is the first mortality for 2010.
On 31 December 2009, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission recovered the carcass of a female Florida panther kitten (UCFP136) from the east shoulder of County Barn Road in Naples. The kitten was estimated to be 3-4 months old and weighed 30 pounds. She did not have a microchip or cowlick.
On 29 December 2009, the FWC recovered the carcass of an adult Florida panther (UCFP135) from the shoulder of the northbound land of State Road 29 in Collier County, approximately 2 miles north of Jerome. The 4 year old panther weighed 80 pounds and did not have a microchip or cowlick.
> Click here for a complete death chart
• A male panther, UCFP133, was struck and killed by a vehicle on I-75 in Broward County ½ mile west of the Snake Road interchange (near the Collier County line) early Thursday morning. The collision occurred between midnight and 0100 hours. This is the 14th roadkill for 2009. Seven wild panthers died of other causes this year (3 intraspecific aggression, 2 unknowns, 1 gunshot, 1 under investigation). UCFP133 is being transported to our Gainesville lab for necropsy; the remains will be deposited with the FL Museum of Natural History.
• Heartbreak Highway article from Defenders of Wildlife. Roads and development spell trouble for Florida's panthers.
• UCFP128 - Under investigation; no further details are available.
• UCFP129 and UCFP130 – On 19 October 2009, FWC received a call about a dead Florida panther kitten on CR 846 approximately 2 miles east of Immokalee, Collier County, Florida. We retrieved a 3-4 month old male kitten that weighed 21 lbs, did not have a cowlick or a kinked tail and did not have a transponder chip. UCFP129 was transported to Gainesville for necropsy. On 21 October, 2009, FWC received another call that an adult panther was killed at the same location as the kitten 2 days prior. The same person reported both mortalities. We retrieved a 3-4 year old adult female suspected to be the mother of UCFP129. UCFP129 weighed 68 lbs, did not have a kinked tail or a cowlick, and did not have a transponder chip. This adult female was placed in the freezer at our Naples Office and will be sent to Gainesville for necropsy at a later date. The remains of both UCFP129 and UCFP130 will be archived at the Florida Museum of Natural History.
• UCFP131 – Yesterday, 1 November 2009, FWC staff received a call from the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation, Hendry County, about a panther kitten that was struck and killed by a vehicle. FWC responded and found a 3-4 month old female kitten that weighed 17 lbs, did not have kinked tail or a cowlick and did not have a transponder chip. The mother panther was still being observed near the dead kitten. Given the recent experience with UCFP129 and UCFP130 and the repeated sightings of the mother panther, we decided to move the kitten away from the road near where the female was last seen. FWC Law Enforcement officers stayed on the scene for several hours after sunset to slow down traffic in the area and they observed the mother panther sitting next to the kitten’s body for approximately 30 minutes before she moved away. FWC-LE is planning to be in the area again tonight. The kitten’s body was removed from the scene this morning and was placed in the freezer at the Naples Office and will be necropsied at a later date. The remains will be archived at the Florida Museum of Natural History.
Counting the above mortalities, there have been 12 panther deaths from vehicle collisions in 2009.
• At approximately 0930 hours this morning (10/05) during our aerial telemetry flight, we received a mortality signal from FP166 on property located just north of Billie Swamp Safari on the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation in Hendry County (494526 Easting/2914364 Northing). The cause of death of this 5-6 year old male panther was intraspecific aggression (ISA). FP166 did not have a kinked tail or a cowlick. The carcass has been placed in a freezer at the FWC Naples Field Office and will be transported to Gainesville for necropsy. The remains will be deposited with the FL Museum of Natural History. This is the 14th wild panther killed this year; the 3rd resulting from ISA.
• UCFP125 9-6-09 2-year-old female Florida panther was struck and killed by a vehicle at the 96.5 mm of I-75 (approximately 3.5 miles east of the toll booth) in Collier County. An officer from the Florida Highway Patrol discovered the panther during routine patrols; the motorist that struck the panther did not stop or report the accident. UCFP125 did not have a kinked tail or a cowlick and did not have a transponder chip. This is the 13th wild panther killed this year and the 9th death by vehicle. The carcass has been placed in a freezer at the Naples Office and will be transported to Gainesville for necropsy. The remains will be deposited with the FL Museum of Natural History.
• Death of FP140 . During our morning telemetry flight, we received a mortality signal from FP140, a 7 year old female panther located on the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge (459478Easting /2899369 Northing). Upon arriving on scene, the cause of death was determined to be intraspecific aggression (ISA). The remains were transported to the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission Naples Field Office where they will be stored until they can be transported to Gainesville for a necropsy at a later date. After necropsy, the skeleton will be archived at the Florida Museum of Natural History.
• A panther was hit on the Alligator Alley portion of I-75 at mile marker 90 (450.073, 2892.715) this morning about 1:30 am by a semi tractor-trailer rig. It was discovered by Florida Highway Patrol about 3 am and recovered by FWC about 3:30 am. Carcass condition precluded a positive sex identification but based on overall size it is presumed to be a female. She did not have a radiocollar and no transponder was detected. UCFP124 is being transferred to Gainesville today and a necropsy will be conducted tomorrow (sex, age, etc will be confirmed at necropsy). The remains will be archived at the Florida Museum of Natural History.
Mile marker 90 is within the wildlife fence. The end of the fencing is 1.4 miles west of the roadkill location. The nearest underpass is 0.7 miles to the east of the roadkill location. The fencing and underpasses were checked for 2+ miles in both directions and no breaks or cuts were discovered. Possible entry points (ie. end of fence 1.4 miles away, etc) were thoroughly inspected but no sign (tracks) was found. Where this panther entered the fenced portion of I-75 is unknown.
• A young (approximately one and a half years old) male panther was collected by FWC Law enforcement personnel about 1:15pm on Memorial Day, May 25, along Immokalee Road (north side of the road) near Camp Keais Road (458157, 2916617). Cause of death was vehicle collision. The carcass was transported to the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission Naples Field Office where samples were collected. The body was placed in the freezer and it will be transported for necropsy today, May 26. After necropsy the hide and skeleton will be archived at the Florida Museum of Natural History. The panther did not have a cowlick or kinked tail. A transponder was not detected. Only one testicle was descended.
This is the 7th roadkill so far this calendar year.
• UCFP119 road mortality 4-9-09
FWC and BCNP received calls this morning about a panther that was struck and killed this morning at 10:20 AM on US 41 near Turner River Collier County. The panther, UCFP119, was a 2-3 year-old female that
had a cowlick but did not have a kinked tail. No subcutaneous transponder chip was detected. The carcass is being transported to Gainesville today and a necropsy has been scheduled for tomorrow. The remains will be deposited with the FL Museum of Natural History. This is the sixth known panther mortality for 2009, five of which have been caused by collisions with vehicles.
• FWC recovered a road-killed panther shortly after 11:00 pm on Wednesday night March 25th on Treeline Ave. halfway between Terminal Access Rd (the new entrance road to Southwest Florida International Airport) and Daniels Pkwy. in Lee County (421.750, 2934.266). This panther is UCFP118. It was a male approximately 1.5 years old, did not have a transponder chip, cowlick, or kinked tail, but did have 2 descended testicles. It was discovered and reported by an FGCU student around 10:20 pm; time of death was shortly before that time. The carcass was placed in the freezer at the Naples Field Office and a necropsy will be performed at a later date. The remains will be archived at the Florida Museum of Natural History.
This is the 4th road mortality for 2009 and 5th total mortality for 2009.
• FWC collected the remains of a 3-4 year old male panther (UCFP117) in the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation (BCSIR) Billie Swamp Safari Pen on 2 February 2009. The animal had been dead for 3-4 days and was discovered by an employee of Billie Swamp Safari on 1 February 2009. The pattern of wounds evident on the carcass was consistent with intraspecific aggression (ISA). The panther had no kink or cowlick and had two normally descended testicles. No transponder chip was discovered. UCFP117 will be necropsied later and the remains will be deposited with the Florida Museum of Natural History. This is the 4th panther mortality of 2009; three resulting from vehicle collisions and one ISA.Please note: We’ve recently had to re-identify two roadkilled panthers from earlier this year with different ID’s due to the discovery of a transponder in a panther that was initially determined to be unmarked. The updates to these labels are incorporated into the table below. In short: UCFP116 became K253 (after the transponder was discovered) UCFP117 became UCFP116 . UCFP117 is the panther that was recovered today on the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation
• UCFP-117 - 4-5 year-old female panther was hit and killed by a vehicle approximately 3 miles south of Immokalee on SR 29 in Collier County. This panther, UCFP117, had a kinked tail and a cowlick; no transponder chip was detected. UCFP117 will be necropsied later and the remains will be deposited with the Florida Museum of Natural History. This is the third panther mortality in 2009 and all have died as the result of vehicle collisions.
• FWC responded to a call about a roadkill panther on the eastbound exit ramp for I-75 at SR 29 in Collier County. FWC Law Enforcement investigated and found a dead male panther (UCFP116). The cat was hit around 2:00 AM Saturday morning. UCFP116 was approximately 1.5-2.5 years-of-age, had a kinked tail, no cowlick, both testicles were descended and the cat did not have a transponder chip. This is the second mortality for 2009.
• UCFP-115 - It is likely this panther entered the fenced portion of SR 29 and I-75 by walking around the south end of the SR 29 fence approximately 1/4 mile from of I-75. The combination of wildlife crossings and fencing prevented panther deaths on I-75 from the time the highway was completed in the early 1990’s to 2007. This is the second panther death since September 2007 along I-75; the first panther to be killed likely entered the highway through a hole cut into the fence at a wildlife crossing.