$5,000 reward offered for information on dead panther in Naples area
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Media contact: Ken Warren (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service), 772-562-3909, x323
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the Florida Fish
and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) are asking anyone with
information about a dead Florida panther found Feb. 23, 2011 in the
Golden Gate Estates area of Naples, Fla. to call the FWC's Wildlife
Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922). Information leading to
an arrest and/or conviction could result in a $5,000 reward.
Officials believe the animal was killed intentionally.
"Foul play is suspected in this death, but we can't reveal too
much as this is an open case," said Andrew Aloise, Resident Agent
in Charge of Law Enforcement for the FWS in Florida. "We and the
FWC encourage anyone with information to come forward."
There are only about 100-160 adult Florida panthers left in
South 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
organization. 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.