Updated:CHRISTMAS, Fla. —
A necropsy confirms that a Florida panther was struck and killed by a car in Orange County.
A Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission biologist retrieved the carcass Sunday night near Christmas.
Mark Cunningham is a veterinarian with the commission. He said the carcass appears to be that of a young male panther.
There was no evidence that the animal was a captive, and Cunningham said it did not have a heart defect occasionally seen in Florida panthers.
This marks the 25th Florida panther to die this year in Florida and the 17th killed by a car. In 2011, nine of 24 documented Florida panther deaths were attributed to vehicle collisions.
Wildlife officials said the panther population has grown five-fold since the 1980s.