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Endangered Florida Panther Expands its Range

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via Flickr

Florida wildlife authorities say the state's panther population is expanding beyond the endangered animal's primary habitat in southwest Florida.

For the first time in more than 40 years wildlife authorities have discovered evidence of a female Florida panther north of the Caloosahatchee River.A biologist found female tracks. Because males routinely are in the area wildlife authorities hope breeding will begin there.

The state's panther population is estimated at around 180 compared with fewer than 30 when the animal first was listed as endangered in 1967.

Florida wildlife authorities have called for greater federal involvement in the animal's recovery as the number of panther attacks on the area's cattle and other livestock has grown.