Ralph Arwood Photography


FP150 Provides Surprise Sighting Before Capture!

(as told by Deb Jansen)

On February 8, 2007 after a long day of hunting for panthers, the Big Cypress capture team was headed out of the woods along Concho Billie Trail in Big Cypress.  As Rocky McBride, the houndsman, and Naples veterinarian Dr. Erik Madison, were driving out on the buggy in front, they commented on how few deer they had seen that day.  Just then, Rocky said, “Oh, there are 2 deer crossing the prairie.”  But, as he turned the corner and got a better look, he exclaimed, “Those aren’t deer, those are 2 panthers!”  He hopped off the driver’s seat and let his hounds out of the dog box in back.  Both panthers, an adult female and a yearling, were treed.  The female is now collared as #150.  Finding panthers is rarely this easy.

Her transponder confirmed that she was the daughter (K-152) of FP-93, born in July of 2003. She had a juvenile female with her, estimated at 1 year of age, which we didn’t handle. FP-150 weighed 70 lbs. and was in average condition.

Dennis Giardina lowering FP-150 to the ground after sedation.

In early July 2007 FP-150 denned. On July 20, 2007 we found three female and one male kitten at the den.

Kittens of Florida Panther 150: K 253, 254, 255, & 256

The male weighed the most at 3 pounds, 8 ounces. The 3 females ranged from 2 pounds 15 ounces to only 1 pound, 6 ounces. This smallest female was in poor condition. She moved lethargically and had several bare spots on her head and legs. Her chances for survival were poor. “It was so tempting to tuck her in our pocket and take her home...” remarked Deb Jansen, BCNP biologist who handled the kittens.

On August 3, we returned to the den site to change the battery on the den-monitoring device and check the original den for kitten sign. We found K-255 in very poor condition, dehydrated and with an open wound on the top of her head.


FP-150 was still attending to kittens that she had moved a short distance from the original den site. After consultation with FWC veterinarian Mark Cunningham, we removed K-255 from the field and turned her care temporarily over to veterinarian John Lanier.

K-255 on the buggy ride out.

K-255 being examined by Dr. Lanier

K-255 ready to have her wound closed by Dr.Lanier

We then transported K255 to the Lowry Park Zoo for further care.

K-255 on her airplane ride to Tampa.

She now resides in an enclosure of native habitat and is on display to the public. She has adapted to captivity where she will remain.

At Lowry Park K-255 is known as “Calusa” (her friends call her “Lucy”)

According to Ms. Jansen, of 96 dens checked by FWC and NPS biologists since 1992, 2 kittens were found at one-third (34%) of the dens. Three kittens were found at 38% of the dens; only 1 kitten was found at 16% of the dens; and 4 kittens were found at 11% of the dens. Some females have been successful in raising 3 kittens, but usually they raise 1 or 2 to dispersal age.

FP-150 movements indicated that she was raising kittens, therefore, we did not handle her to change her collar during the 2008 capture season. Her collar failed on June 7, 2008.


On January 17, 2009 the FWC team responded to a call about a road-killed panther in Collier County, Florida. This young male, found near SR 29 and I-75, was hit around two in the morning. Upon examination of the carcass, a transponder chip was found identifying him as K-253. He was the son of FP-150 and Lucy’s brother.