COLLIER COUNTY, Fla.- Jennifer Adriaanse says she can't believe this panther, she once saw in her own backyard, is now dead. The panther was killed in a car crash on I-75.
"I think it's actually kind of sad that they didn't get to trap him and relocate him you know," said Adriaanse.
Wildlife officails said this panther is the same one they had been trying to relocate from Adriaanse's Golden Gate Estates neighborhood. But Nickie Koch isn't convinved it's the same animal who killed his dog last month.
"So do you not think the panther that was killed is the same panther?"
"Not the one that was in this neighborhood, it's the one thats been up in the northeast corridor," said Koch.
Biologists think this white marking, on the panther's left ear, identifies the animal as the one roaming around that Collier County community. Another neighbor thinks wildlife officers could have prevented the panther's death.
"They could have removed the panther from our neighborhood and kept our kids safe and saved the panther at the same time but instead they let the panther get hit by a car."
Despite the new developments, Adriaansee said she is still going to be careful.
"There was one panther and yes they say it was the one that was in our neighborhood, but you know it could have been a different one."
Wildlife officials tell WINK News there's always the possibility it's not the same animal. But biologists say that white marking is unusual and distinct, which leads them to believe it is the same. A full necropsy will be conducted at FWC's lab in Gainesville.
People who have seen a panther, its tracks or other evidence of panther activity can call the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922).