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Endangered Panther Released in Palm Beach County

The male panther, moments after being released on April 3, 2013.
The male panther, moments after being released on April 3, 2013. (Image credit: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission)

Palm Beach County, Fla., has a new resident, but you won't find him lounging on the beach. Last week, an orphaned Florida panther was released into the southwest of the county, "a place of cattle ranches, swamps and bushy forests that's a world away from the strip malls and subdivisions of Boca Raton, Wellington and Royal Palm Beach," the Sun Sentinel reported.  

The 123-pound (56 kilograms) endangered panther was orphaned as a kitten, when his mother was found dead. He was raised with minimal human contact, and learned to hunt deer, rabbits and armadillos in a wildlife center near Jacksonville, the news report said. 

The area for release was chosen due to the abundance of prey like wild hogs and deer, and the lack of another male panther.

An estimated 100 to 160 adult panthers remain in southern Florida, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. 

See a video of the release here.

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Douglas Main
Douglas Main loves the weird and wonderful world of science, digging into amazing Planet Earth discoveries and wacky animal findings (from marsupials mating themselves to death to zombie worms to tear-drinking butterflies) for Live Science. Follow Doug on Google+.