Ralph Arwood Photography
FP-180 was collared for the first time on February 21, 2010, she weighed 93 lbs. She was handled as a kitten, K-264, at the den of FP-151 in February 2008.
Florida Panther Kitten K-264, the daughter of FP-151. At 21 days of age she weighed four pounds, one ounce.
At capture, we did not detect obvious signs of pregnancy or previous lactation. She was expected to den anytime, but that didn’t happen until early March 2011 when she was three years old.
We set up the den box, yet by the end of the month monitoring via both the box and flights showed that she was not returning to the den. Her subsequent flight locations also showed no pattern, which would indicate that she was returning to care for the kittens. We checked the den and found beds where she had lain, but no sign of the kittens. We theorized that something had happened to them, and chalked it up to FP180’s inexperience since this was her first litter.
On July 6, 2011 Roy McBride treed a young panther. He also documented FP-180 and another juvenile in the vicinity. What a surprise when Annette Johnson called from her July 8, 2011 flight reporting that she had seen FP-180 in a cypress prairie with TWO KITTENS walking behind her! Even after mapping and reviewing the flight locations from March to July, we could not figure out where she had moved those kittens. For the past ten years, the Big Cypress panther team has located over thirty dens without a miss. But FP-180 managed to elude us. We may yet discover how she did it because she is wearing a GPS collar. The collar stores five locations a day and, when we retrieve it, we may learn her wily ways.
We changed FP-180’s collar on February 13, 2012. Her weight was down 20 lbs. to 73 lbs. This was felt to be related to her raising two 11 month old kittens. She was found to have multiple healing 7-10 day old wounds.
FP-180 denned in July 2012 and we marked 3 male kittens K-376, K-377, and K-378, they were 18 days old.
In December 2013 it again appeared that FP-180 might be denning. When we went in to set up the den box we found a recently killed deer. Trail cameras left at the kill site reveled that a 4-5 month old kitten accompanied FP-180. This was the second time we missed FP-180 denning.
12-15-2013 FP-180 and Kitten.
At the time we missed this den our tracking flights had been severely curtailed. Because of funding cut backs and aviation mismanagement we were tracking the panthers in Big Cypress less than once a week. Normally we should have had a position on each cat three times a week.
FP-180 occasionally cross SR-29 to hunt in the Fakahatchee Strand, sometimes hunting for love. Terry Wilson’s trail cameras captured her on a tryst with her boyfriend FP-183.
FP-183 was unfortunately struck and killed by a car crossing SR-29 on February 25, 2015.
February 28, 2015
We replaced FP-180's collar with ATS Iridium LITE/GPS model G2110L collar.
Satellite component worked for 16 months and VHF worked 2 months longer. We were not able to change collar before it failed because FP-180 was raising kittens.
In October 2015 FP-180 denned again. She had two kittens K-448 and K-449, a daughter and son.
The kittens have swelling around their eyes from mosquito bites. In the video at the den you can see just how bad the mosquitos were. Interestingly as we searched for the den, the mosquitos were not bad except at the den site.
On April 20, 2016 FP-180 den again. On May 2, 2016 we found three healthy female kittens at this den.
K-459, K-460, and K-461