CHRISTMAS, Fla. - A Florida panther was hit by a vehicle and killed Sunday night near Christmas.
The animal was struck by a double tractor-trailer around 9 p.m. on State Road 520 near the Beachline.
A Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission biologist retrieved the carcass Sunday night, and a necropsy confirmed that the animal was a Florida panther.
Dr. Mark Cunningham of FWC, said the carcass appears to be that of a young male panther, approximately 3 years old. It has a cowlick, which is characteristic of a Florida panther, and there is no evidence that it was a captive animal, according to an FWC release.
It was be the 25th to die this year in Florida and the 17th killed by a car, the FWC said.
In 2011, nine of 24 documented Florida panther deaths were attributed to vehicle collisions.
The panther population has grown five-fold since the 1980s, when its numbers dwindled to about 30 in South Florida. There are currently an estimated 100 to 160 adult and subadult panthers in the state, officials said.
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