Published: Jan 07, 2011 1:35 AM EST
Updated: Jan 06, 2011 10:35 PM EST

LA BELLE, Fla. (AP) - The state's first panther death for 2011 has been recorded in Hendry County.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reports that an 8-year-old male was found dead on private property Wednesday. The animal's radio collar had been emitting a signal that indicated the panther had not moved for long time and could be dead.

The cause of death wasn't known, but officials say it appeared to be a natural death. There were no signs of trauma.

A total of 23 panthers were found dead in 2010, including 16 killed by vehicles.

Biologists estimate the panther population in Florida to be between 100 and 120.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)