Rare Female Panther Sighting Hailed by Conservationists

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(Florida Fish and Wildlife/Washington Post)

“You go, girl!” was one of the headlines celebrating a female panther caught on a trail camera as she crossed a river in Florida.

Why all the excitement? Florida panthers are endangered and a female hasn’t been seen on the north side of the Caloosahatchee River for more than four decades, according to the Washington Post.

Only 100 to 200 of the big cats inhabit a southwestern patch of the state. Males have been seen there but not females. The future of Florida panthers depends on their roaming more widely and also reproducing successfully. (Panthers have been crowded out by condos and killed by cars on roads and highways.)

“This is a big deal for panther conservation,” said Kipp Frohlich, the commission’s deputy division director for habitat and species conservation. “We want to ensure these majestic animals are here for future generations of Floridians. Female panthers moving north of the river on their own is a big step toward this goal.”

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