May 13, 2015

From WTSP.com

Federal and state investigators along with animal advocacy groups, are offering a $15,000 reward for anyone who can help identify the shooter of a Florida panther — someone who may have also shot other panthers just north of the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge in Collier County.

The big cat is the second panther that has been shot in this area of Collier County since October. The first, now named Uno, will live the rest of its life in captivity at Naples Zoo after someone shot it in the face with birdshot (blinding the cat) and then again in the rear.

Shooting or otherwise harming a panther is a violation of the Endangered Species Act. The state considers it a third-degree felony with a maximum of five years in jail and/or a $5,000 fine. The federal punishment is a maximum one year in jail with a $100,000 fine.

Both agencies encourage anyone with information to call FWC’s 24-hour wildlife alert line at 888-404-3922. For those wishing to remain anonymous, email Tip@MyFWC.com or go online to MyFWC.com/WildlifeAlert.

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