A six-month-old Florida panther kitten is now mewling for joy having been reunited with its mother after determined conservation work.
After the Florida Wildlife Commission (FWC) became alerted back in March to a panther kitten that had been found separated from its mother, she was brought to the zoo in Naples, Florida.
“Initially, there was no sign of an adult female panther, so FWC and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists used towels with the kitten’s scent to mark along nearby trails in hope of attracting the (mother panther) to the area to reunite her with her offspring,” FWC said in a Facebook post.
Placing the kitten inside of a cage next to a livestream camera, they waited throughout the night to see if the mother came back. She didn’t.
The decision was then made to transport the kitten to White Oak Conservation center in Yulee, a distance of nearly the entire Florida peninsula, for rehabilitation in the hope that the female kitten could be released back into the wild someday.
Then, cameras saw an adult panther exploring the cage site, after which FWC decided to bring the kitten back to Naples and try the plan again. She didn’t show up. Again.
Fortunately for the furry family, the conservationists didn’t give up, and as sure as one could say third time’s the charm, the following night, on May 20th, cameras recorded the scene when the mewling kitten was approached by an adult panther who immediately displayed maternal instincts, such as trying to nuzzle the young one through the cage bars, and looking for a way to break it open.
The FWC then opened the cage door and the two wandered off into the woods, the kitten sporting a shiny new collar—one with a GPS tracker to keep an eye on its range and health in the coming days.
FWC recently noted the females were both “alive and well.” A purr-fect ending to a stressful separation.
(WATCH the video for this story below.)
Featured image: FWC screenshot
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