Kitten to become best friends with blind panther at Naples Zoo

One of Florida’s best-known and beloved panthers could get a new best friend at the Naples Zoo.

Uno was blinded by a shotgun blast to the face and now lives at the Naples Zoo on 1590 Goodlette-Frank Rd.

The hope for Uno was that one day he would have a female companion to share his home with and now it seems that day has come.

A 6-month-old Florida panther kitten named Athena can now be seen at the panther exhibit.

Athena when she was rescued at 2-weeks-old. WINK News/ Olivia Mancino

Athena was rescued after her mother abandoned her over the summer at a den site in the Big Cypress National Preserve, the zoo said.

“She needed a lot of medical care, so she probably wouldn’t have survived in the wild,” said Liz Harmon, director of animal programs.

After an unsuccessful attempt to reunite Athena with her family, it was decided she would be removed from the wild.

Athena will be at the exhibit from 9 a.m. to noon and Uno will have the exhibit the rest of the day.

The zoo hopes that Athena and Uno can be introduced to one another in the future. The pairing would be for companionship.

“She’s 25 pounds and hes 125 pounds, so we need to let her get a bit bigger before we introduce them,” Harmon said.

The Naples Zoo shared current photos of Athena on Facebook:

Meet Athena: a rescued Florida panther kitten who will now live here at Naples Zoo! Her and Uno will take turns on…

Posted by Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens on Friday, December 15, 2017

Reporter:Olivia Mancino
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