Published: Dec 20, 2012 6:27 PM EST

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla.- Pictures of panther kittens are generating buzz over the Internet.

FWS says 15 radio collared females have given birth to 40 kittens, and the uncollared population has produced many unknown litters this year. Remote trail cameras on the 26,000-acre Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge detected two uncollared family groups on the refuge this fall.

The Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge consists of 26,400 acres, and is located within the heart of the Big Cypress Basin in Southwest Florida.

FWS says the images of an uncollared female panther moving her three kittens to another den could be the first time anyone has captured a photo of a panther moving her kittens between den sites. One possibility of why she was moving the kittens may be rainfall, according to FWC.

Two months later, the cameras captured the same female with all three kittens following her closely.

Meanwhile, on the refuge’s west side, the cameras captured a second family group with two kittens. They look to be about one month older than those in the first family group. Unique characteristics (such as the female’s cowlick in the photo) allow officials to uniquely identify the difference between the two family groups.

Officials are still concerned with the high number of vehicle collisions with panthers, and continue to monitor the population. Motorists are urged to be cautious when driving in panther country. 

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