Video footage shared by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) shows the moment a mother panther was reunited with her little baby cat after the two were separated.
While the animal commonly referred to as ‘panther’ is a general name. It appears to perhaps instead be a leopard since it appears to be light-colored with black spots across the entire body, they are built for hunting and are solitary animals. They often hunt at night and drag their catch up trees for safekeeping. However, the panther’s general name also describes jaguars that have black or white color mutation and also a subspecies called the cougar which is usually gray to a sort of rust-red or tan full-body color.
As per FWC, back in March, somebody found the around 4-month-old panther whelp in southwestern Florida and saw that there was no mother in sight, determining that the pair must have been separated. The kitten was taken to the Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens in Naples, Florida, for a health check and evaluation while biologists scanned the region for indications of its mom.
“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.
These panthers are skilled climbers and enjoy resting in the branches of trees during the day. Anyone can also discern that they’re a force to be reckoned with if not from stories, then the size of its huge claws and muscle cuts. They’re also really fast, they can run up to roughly 36mph! That’s not all, they’re also super agile, and can even leap 6 meters forward in the air.
Aware of these facts and more, the team had to be careful along every step of the way. They set the little kitty inside a cage and set up a camera with a live stream to watch the cub in case the mother dropped by. However, she didn’t that evening.
“Not certain if the mother panther was alive or in the area, the decision was made to transport the kitten to White Oak Conservation in Yulee, FL for rehab care,” FWC said. “Sure enough, the next night, trail camera footage showed a panther walking by the kitten release site.”
Staff affirmed the tracks were that of an adult female and chose to ship the little cub back to Naples, where it was placed in the cage in front of the camera. Once again, the mother didn’t show up. Shortly after, the team attempted a third time – and a wild mom appeared!
“That evening, a female panther approached and immediately showed maternal behavior toward the kitten. FWC panther biologist released the kitten from the cage, reuniting mother and daughter.”
The little cub was given a collar with a transitory radio to track its movement. FWC said it indicated that the kitty is “alive and well” and being taken care of by its mom.