|Published:||Mar 30, 2011 12:17 AM EDT|
|Updated:||Mar 29, 2011 9:20 PM EDT|
COLLIER COUNTY, Fla.-State and federal wildlife officials are investigating the deaths of two Florida panthers.
"The one that we found in Golden Gate Estates in February was very suspicious," said Capt. Jayson Horadam with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Wildlife officials have teamed up with other groups to offer a $5,000 reward to anyone who may have information about the case. Meanwhile, they're also looking into the death of a panther found Friday along State Road 29.
"They [biologists] look at the [corpse of the] panther and at the situation and they try to determine what exactly happened," said Horadam.
David Shindle, a biologist at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, says the Florida panther population has increased in the past couple of years.
"Right now there are anywhere from 120 to 160 individuals," he said.
Shindle also said that twelve panthers have died in Southwest Florida this year.
"The primary cause of mortality are cats killing other cats," explained Shindle.
Unfortunately, many panthers also are killed by vehicles.
Anyone with information regarding the deaths of these felines are asked to contact the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.