The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) are offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction in the shooting and death of a Florida panther.
The dead adult panther was reported by passing motorists at about 8:30 p.m. on March 22, 2015. The dead panther, who was initially thought to have been hit by a car, was found lying on the edge of Immokalee Road in Collier County about one mile west of Camp Keais Road.
FWC Officers responded to the scene and an investigation revealed that the panther had actually died as a result of a gunshot wound, and there was no evidence that it had been struck by a vehicle.
Investigators with the USFWS and FWC are working together to identify the person/persons responsible for shooting this Florida panther.
Anyone with information about its death should call the FWC’s 24-hour Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-3922. For those wishing to remain anonymous, please email Tip@MyFWC.com or click here.
The Florida panther is listed as "endangered" ans is protected under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA), meaning the Florida panther is in danger of extinction. That makes it illegal to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect or attempt to engage in any such conduct.
If convicted criminally, the federal penalty is up to one year of imprisonment and a $100,000 fine per individual.
In addition, State of Florida Statute 379.4115 makes it a third degree felony to kill a Florida panther.
The state penalty is up to five years in jail and/or up to a $5,000 fine.