Published: May 25, 2010 2:34 AM EDT
Updated: May 25, 2010 2:33 AM EDT

NAPLES, Fla. (AP) - Authorities say a Florida panther cub is
dead after apparently being hit by a car over the weekend along
U.S. 41 in Collier County.
      The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says it is
the third panther to die in the area since Friday. The other two
also were apparently struck by vehicles.
      Despite the spate of recent deaths, FWC says the panther
population in South Florida remains viable with five times as many
in the wild now than just 20 years ago. They estimate there are
roughly 100 remaining in the wild.
      Officials say the increasing number of panther road kills
mirrors the increase in panther numbers, and authorities continue
to work on plans to make it safer for the big cats near roadways.