Panther Released Into The Wild Last Year Has Died

LA BELLE, Fla. (AP) — An endangered Florida panther that was rescued as a kitten has died less than a year after being released back into the wild.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokeswoman Carli Segelson says the young male panther’s radio collar alerted officials Friday that the animal was not moving and could be dead.

Segelson says the lethargic panther was found on private land in Hendry County and taken to a veterinary clinic. It died Saturday.

The cause of death wasn’t immediately clear. A necropsy is planned.

The panther and its sister were rescued by wildlife officials in September 2011 in Collier County after their mother was found dead. They were raised in captivity before being released separately last year.

Only around 160 Florida panthers remain in the wild.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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