Panther Kitten Rescued in Florida by Biologists During Research
One-week old panther kitten was found in mid-January during research by biologists at Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and Conservancy of Southwest Florida. It was taken to the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa for longer-term rehabilitation, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission announced Thursday.
When they found the male panther kitten, he was in poor health and had a slow heart rate. He was shifted to Animal Specialty Hospital of Florida in Naples for treatment.
The panther kitten is being bottle-fed with Esbilac powdered milk replacer. After a few weeks, he will be weaned from his bottle and started on a meat-based diet. He is being given 24-hour care by a team led by Dr. Ray Ball, the zoo's director of medical sciences, according to a statement from the zoo.
"We want to give any panther kitten the best opportunity to survive in the wild," said FWC veterinarian Dr. Mark Cunningham, according to a news release. "But clearly this kitten was in poor condition and almost certainly would have died without intervention."
The baby panther will not be released in the wild because he is is still too young and didn't learn survival skills from his mother. Biologists said that they'll send him to Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park. He is the fourth panther kitten rehabilitated by the zoo.
"This kitten exemplifies how joint efforts of the FWC, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and our partners are helping recover imperiled species in Florida," said Kevin Godsea, manager of the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge for the USFWS, in a news release. "We are certainly pulling for him and hope he leads a long, healthy life."
Rescued Florida Panther Kitten
A single male kitten is discovered in the den of FP195. The 7-day-old kitten is cold (hypothermic) and listless and shows signs of hypoglycemia. FWC panther biologists determine the tiny 1-pound kitten will not survive in this state without intervention and that it's best chance for its survival is if they rescue him. The biologists take the kitten to the Animal Specialty Hospital of Florida (ASH) in Naples, where veterinarians and staff perform life-saving measures.