MIAMI (AP) _ A record 37th Florida panther death has been recorded by state wildlife officials, the majority of the endangered big cats struck and killed by vehicles.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials say a year-old female hit by a car earlier this week in Hendry County set the new record.
Twenty-six of the 37 panther deaths this year have come on Florida roadways.
The Miami Herald reports that one silver lining to the increased deaths could be a rebounding panther population.
Between 100 and 180 panthers are estimated to roam the region south of the Caloosahatchee River.
But officials also say the panther deaths could be a sign the cats are running out of habitat because of increased development, especially in southwest Florida.