A 4-month-old Florida panther cub was found by itself in March, setting off an effort by biologists to find her mother and reunite the pair.
According to a Facebook post from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), the cub was found in Collier County, located in the southwest portion of the state. Biologists searched the area for the mother while the cub was sent for a health exam at Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens.
Though they didn’t initially see any sign of a female panther, FWC and U.S. Fish and Wildlife biologists tried to attract the mother to the area by rubbing the cub’s scent on nearby trails. Then that night, the cub was placed in a cage by a livestream camera, with biologists waiting nearby. When nothing happened, they decided to send the cub to rehab at White Oak Conservation in northeast Florida. However, that was not the end of the story.
The post reads, “Sure enough, the next night, trail camera footage showed a panther walking by the kitten release site. Tracks confirmed it was an adult female, so the kitten was transported back to Naples.”
This led to another attempt to place the cub in a cage near where the female had been seen, for a possible reunion. On the second night, it all came to fruition. The female returned, showed maternal attitudes toward the cub, and then biologists released the cub from the cage so they could go off together.
Through a temporary expanding radio collar, it was confirmed that the duo were still together. Now, data from the collar continue to show that mother and daughter are safe and together. In fact, a month later, they also appeared on a trail camera. Though the collar will soon drop off, biologists are hopeful that they can still keep an eye on the duo through other trail cameras.
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