For a few weeks this past February and March, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Panther Team conducted surveys on CREW Wildlife and Environmental Area in Naples to capture and radiocollar Florida panthers. Collaring panthers is a research tool that helps FWC to monitor and estimate population size, survival, assess health, and much more. Prior to joining Johnson Engineering in 2017, Dr. Jennifer Korn (“Jen”) was a panther biologist with FWC and was invited as a volunteer to assist on a few capture dates with the FWC Panther Team. 

On a very lucky day in February, the team captured the cat now known as FP263, an adult male panther estimated around 8 years old. Citizen scientist, Tom Mortenson, who has monitored the area with trail cameras for many years, first photographed this male panther in 2018. Tom named the cat “No Ears” because of his very small ears which are likely a result of past territorial fighting or infection. 

As with all captures, FP263 received a full veterinary assessment that included testing for feline leukemia (FeLV), giving vaccines, and collecting blood for genetics and further health testing. After the vet check, body measurements, and a GPS radiocollar, FP263 was released in the same area as capture. 

Jen was excited and thankful to be able to assist in this collaborative effort in panther recovery. If you have Florida panther questions or need assistance with a project pertaining to Florida panthers, wildlife crossings, trail camera monitoring, etc., do not hesitate to reach out to Jen at mkt@johnsoneng.com. If you would like to read more about FWC and Florida panther monitoring and recovery, visit their website: https://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/wildlife/panther/.