GOLDEN GATE ESTATES, Fla. - Panthers are on the prowl in Golden Gate Estates and now livestock is turning up dead. It's such a problem for residents, that a task force is trying to help the community be more aware about protecting their animals.
"I hear my chickens clucking and chickens flying everywhere and going hysterical, and I look out here and I see a panther."
That's when instinct kicked in and Humberto Suarez went running outside in an attempt to save his animals.
"For a minute the panther just went down like this and just looked at me, and then just took off for the back of the property," Suarez recalls of his close encounter.
That wouldn't be the only time the Estates resident and his chickens came across the endangered feline. Another night, the female panther pulled up part of the fence to the hen house. She was caught with an infrared camera Florida Fish and Wildlife installed on his property.
The panther wound up killing five of Suarez's chickens. "There was just trails of white feathers going all the way towards the back there."
FWC has counted at least 20 areas in Collier County where a family of panthers have been checking out livestock. Over half of the locations have resulted in animals being killed.
For Suarez, his chickens are pets, but for others the animals killed were worth hundreds of dollars in income.
Suarez tells WINK News FWC informed him someone has also tried to shoot at a panther, which is a felony.
July 10th, state and local agencies will gather at Max Hasse Park in the Estates to talk about these issues and distribute information. Click here to find out more http://www.colliersheriff.org/index.aspx?recordid=13589&page=1929.