COLLIER COUNTY, Fla - Tuesday night, a woman driving on Treeline Avenue in Fort Myers hit and killed a panther. It is the 17th panther death of the year and the 14th killed by a car.
"You need to be alert and keep a watchful eye out," says FWC Biologist Mark Lotz.
In this case, there were no signs in the area warning drivers about panthers. That's because WINK News found in 2007 the signs were removed by transportation officials who claimed panthers no longer live in the area.
"It's hard to say how dangerous any road is when it comes to panthers because panthers don't know where the signs are and they're going to cross wherever they want to," says Lotz.
Lotz tells WINK News they've tracked a couple panthers near RSW, but he doesn't know if a warning sign would have made a difference Tuesday night.
"It's hard to determine how effective those signs are and whether people are paying attention to them or not," says Lotz. But, he does think it's also important to not over do it when it comes to warning drivers.
"You can't just put a sign up every time a panther gets killed because eventually you'll have so many signs on the road that it will just become background noise," says Lotz. "People will stop paying attention to them."