Lowry Park Zoo has an adorable new resident. A Florida panther, rescued in Collier County as a mere 1-week old kitten, is in the care of the zoo's veterinary staff.
It was one month ago when biologists from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission discovered the kitten while conducting research. The 1-pound male had a dangerously low body temperature and was nonresponsive.
He was taken to the Animal Specialty Hospital of Florida in Naples, then later to Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo.
Zoo officials say the now-4-week-old kitten is healthy and active with an excellent appetite In the next few weeks, staff will work with the kitten to wean from a bottle to a meat-based diet.
Because this kitten was so young at the time of rescue, he will not learn survival skills from his mother and therefore cannot be released into the wild. He'll probably wind up at the Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park.
For more information on Florida panthers, visit www.floridapanthernet.org.