$5,000 reward offered for info about panther shot in Seminole Co.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Media contact: Ken Warren (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), 772-562-3909, x323
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Florida Fish and
Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and the Humane Society of
the United States are offering a $5,000 reward for information
leading to the arrest and conviction of the person/persons
responsible for shooting a Florida panther.
The deceased panther was found on the side of Old Mims Road,
west of South Jungle Road, in Geneva, Fla., on March 12, 2011. As a
result of its investigation, the FWC is preparing to file charges
with the state attorney for illegal possession of a Florida
panther. That will conclude the FWC's investigation into this
incident. The FWC will not provide more information about its
portion of the investigation until charges are filed.
The USFWS's portion of the investigation is ongoing into who
killed the animal. Contact the FWC's Wildlife Alert Hotline
888-404-3922 with any pertinent information.
There are only about 100-160 adult Florida panthers left in
Florida. The Florida panther is protected under the Endangered
Species Act of 1973 (ESA), which currently lists the species as
"endangered." This means the Florida panther is in danger of
extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range.
The ESA makes it unlawful for a person to take a listed animal
without a permit. Take is defined as "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, $100,000 fine per individual or $200,000 per
In addition, State of Florida Statute 372.0725 makes it a
third-degree felony to kill or wound any species designated as
endangered or threatened. The state penalty is up to five years in
jail and/or up to a $5,000 fine.