Third Lee County panther death in 2021, exceeds 2020 fatalities | News, Sports, Jobs
A 7-year-old panther was killed in a vehicle accident on State Route 82 near Daniels Parkway on February 13. This marked the endangered Florida panther’s third death in Lee County that year.
In 2020, there were two panther deaths in Lee County and 22 deaths across Florida.
There were six panther deaths recorded in Florida in the first six weeks of 2021.
On January 21, a 2-year-old male panther was hit and killed by a vehicle on State Route 82 at the Rod and Gun Club in Lee County. On January 2, a 3-year-old female panther was hit and killed by a vehicle on Terminal Access Road near Treeline Avenue.
There are believed to be 120 to 130 Florida panthers in the wild, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Female panthers have only been documented in South Florida. It is illegal to harm or molest a panther in any way under the Endangered Species Act.
The rising panther deaths are being reported at a time of heightened sensitivity as their habitat is threatened by planned residential and commercial developments in Collier County and the proposed MCORES highway project that could breach their habitat in Collier County, Hendry Counties and Lee Counties.
A report published in The Intercept last month and widely disseminated elsewhere contained detailed threats to the panthers in Collier County due to proposed developments and ongoing reviews by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Department of the Interior that have had a significant impact on the USA could have panther populations.