Biologists Save Freezing Panther Kitten

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A Florida panther kitten found nearly frozen to death in Florida is recovering well thanks to the quick action of the scientists who found it. Biologists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission discovered the kitten while conducting field research in January.

The week-old male kitten was short of breath, and its body temperature was very low. It weighed less than a pound, and was close to death. The FWC biologists brought him to the Animal Specialty Hospital of Florida for medical treatment.

"We want to give any panther kitten the best opportunity to survive in the wild," said Dr. Mark Cunningham, a FWC veterinarian. "But clearly this kitten was in poor condition and almost certainly would have died without intervention."

The panther kitten has gained weight and is recovering well, but he will not be able to survive in the wild after separating from his mother at such a young age. For now, he lives at the Lowry Park Zoo.

The panther kitten will move again to the Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park when he is older. There, his presence will help raise awareness of the dangers currently threatening Florida panthers.

"This kitten exemplifies how joint efforts of the FWC, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and our partners are helping recover imperiled species in Florida," said Kevin Godsea, manager of the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge for the USFWS. "We are certainly pulling for him and hope he leads a long, healthy life."

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