1. A baby Florida panther was found “in the wilderness, nonresponsive and with an extremely low body temperature.”
2. Biologists from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and the Conservancy of Southwest Florida discovered the kitten at the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge.
The Florida panther is an endangered breed, so they decided to rescue the little kitten to further conservation efforts.
3. “We want to give any panther kitten the best opportunity to survive in the wild. But clearly this kitten…almost certainly would have died without intervention,” said FWC veterinarian Dr. Mark Cunningham.
4. First, the little guy went to “Animal Specialty Hospital of Florida in Naples, where veterinarians and staff stabilized him and performed life-saving measures.”
5. From there, he went to Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, where he’s proudly the “fourth kitten and eighth panther to receive rehabilitation at the zoo,” according to the FWC.
6. Though he weighed 2.8 pounds when he was first brought in, according to the zoo, he now weighs 4.1 pounds and is “growing every day”!
7. He’s still receiving 24-hour care from the zoo’s vet team for now…
8. …and they’re hoping to move him to a more meat-based diet soon.
9. Because he was so discovered so young, he won’t be returned to the wild…
10. …but when he’s old enough, he’ll live in the Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park to “help to raise awareness and aid with potential research efforts,” according to the FWC.
11. “This kitten exemplifies how joint efforts of the FWC, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and our partners are helping recover imperiled species in Florida,” said Kevin Godsea, manager of the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge for the USFWS.
12. Zoo officials still haven’t named the kitten, but we’ll hopefully get an announcement soon!
13. Luckily, he’s very healthy and super cute, no matter what his name is.
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