Officials: 3 Florida panthers struck and killed by vehicles

BIG CYPRESS, Fla. — (AP) — Three endangered Florida panthers were killed by separate vehicle strikes earlier this week, officials said.

That makes 18 panther deaths attributed to fatal collisions out of 24 total deaths this year, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

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The remains of a 4-month-old male panther were found Tuesday within Big Cypress National Preserve in Collier County, and a 3-year-old male was found dead the same day on the western edge of the park, wildlife officials said.

Also Tuesday, the remains of a 10-year-old female were found just north of Southwest Florida International Airport in Lee County.

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Florida panthers once roamed the entire Southeast, but now their habitat mostly is confined to a small region of Florida along the Gulf of Mexico.

Up to 230 Florida panthers remain in the wild.

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