FP-120


FP-120 was first collared on April 8, 2003 in the Turner River Unit at an estimated 3 years of age. Her parentage is unknown. She weighed 82 lbs. and was in excellent physical condition. Her 42-km2 home range was bisected by US-41. 


In January 2004, FP-120 denned south of US-41. On February 7, 2004, 2 kittens, 1 male (K-156) and 1 female (K-155), were marked at the den. In mid-March, her movements indicated that she had left the den with the kittens, but remained south of US-41. Given her proximity to the road and the likelihood that she would eventually attempt to cross with her kittens, Big Cypress asked the FWC Division of Law Enforcement in early May to increase monitoring of nighttime traffic in the Panther Speed Zone that had been established in the Ochopee area. FWC complied by conducting almost nightly enforcement of the posted 45-per-hour speed limit. 

In spite of this effort, at 6:45 pm on July 11, 2004, a vehicle struck FP-120. FWC officers witnessed the collision.FP-120 lay momentarily on the side of the road, but when approached, she swam the canal on the north side and retreated into the woods. The next morning, she was tranquilized on the ground and removed for examination. She had a compound fracture of the right femur and significant blood loss. Her lower right canine, was damaged in the collision and had to be extracted, 

At the time FP-120 was removed from Big Cypress, her kittens were 5.5 months old, too young to survive in the wild. Based on FP-120’s restricted movements and sign at one of her kill sites, it was believed that at least one of her kittens was still with her. Therefore, on July 13, 2004 NPS, FWC, and the Collier County Sheriff’s office slowed traffic in the Ochopee Panther Speed Zone while the houndsman used his dogs to search for the kittens. No kittens were found. Also that week, several venison bait piles surrounded by tracking medium were set up in the woods near the collision site and inspected daily. No sign of the kittens was found. On August 2, 2004 the male kitten (K-156) was struck by a vehicle and killed in the same location as FP-120’s collision. He was severely undernourished, weighing only 20 pounds at 6 months of age, but had survived 23 days without the care of his mother. 

FP-120 remained in captivity for 10 months before she was released into the northern portion of her home range on May 4, 2005. 

Within 2 days, she returned to US-41, 11 km from the release site, where she had last been with her kittens. On May 7, 2005 she was struck and killed during daylight hours at the same location where she had been injured and her kitten (K-156) had been killed 10 months earlier. 




© Ralph Arwood 2017