FP-220


FP-220 was first collared on February 4, 2013 in the Turner River Unit. She had been handled as K-228 at FP-93’s den on March 8, 2007 so she was known to be 6 years of age. 

K-228

Two weeks later on February 22, 2013 we collared FP-221 and soon learned via monitoring that she was the daughter of FP-220. We estimated FP-221’s age at 9 to 10 months of age based on tooth eruption. They were located together through October 2013. FP-220 and FP-221 were located separately starting in November 2013.  FP-221 was estimated to be 18 months of age when she dispersed but established a home range within her mother’s home range. 

FP-220 denned in February 2014 and we marked 3 kittens (K-406, K-407, K-408). 

K-406

K-407

K-408


K-406, K-407, and K-408 playing in their den.

FP-220's home range was 96 km2 in the Deep Lake and Turner River Units.


On October 29, 2015 photographer Denise Shreve saw FP-220 crossing Turner River Road.


On February 4, 2017 we changed FP-220s collar.


FP-220 was a very healthy 107 pounds.


June 22, 2017       K-477, K-478, K-479, K-480

We handled four kittens at FP-220 den today, two girls and two boys. They were healthy 12 day old kittens. 

K477 – a male weighing 2 pounds and 5 ounces

K478 – a female weighing 2 pounds and 9 ounces

K479 – a male weighing 2 pounds and 4 ounces

K480 – a female weighing 1 pound and 11 ounces

Its a tough time of the year to be newborns in Big Cypress.  The water levels are up and there is little dry ground for a den. The heat index has been over 100 degrees for the last several days and the mosquitos are voracious . 

The video below shows the kittens as we found them at their den.

 K-477, K-478, K-479, K-480


Den Camera Video

Our video cameras did not get any video of FP-220 returning to her den. The behavior of the kittens is consistent with her return to the area. Apparently she cared for her kittens nearby but out of camera view. Telemetry data confirms that FP-220 was in the area at this time. The young opossum walked through the den while the panthers were still there!



June 29, 2017

After FP-220 moved her den about 250 meters to the south, Big Cypress staff went to the original den site, heard a plaintive cry, and found K-480. She had lost 26% of her body weight.  It is probable that when her mother decided to move the den to a drier location, she left K-480 behind, knowing that she could no longer care for 4 kittens. 

Although 4 kittens have been found at dens in the past, it has never been documented that a Florida panther female has been able to raise 4 kittens to adulthood and often the “runt” dies early on or is left behind by the mother when she begins the hard task of moving with, protecting and feeding so many little ones.

Don Hargrove with K-480

Tammy Whittington with K-480

K-480 was removed from the wild and cared for at Animal Specialty Hospital in Naples, Florida. After regaining her weight she was transferred to the Naples Zoo. The Naples Zoo has named her Athena.

Athena

© Ralph Arwood 2018