MIAMI — A record number of endangered Florida panthers died in 2014.
Most of the 30 that died were struck by vehicles in Collier and Hendry counties. Southwest Florida is home to most of the estimated 180 panthers prowling a sliver of their former range.
There also were a record 32 panther attacks on pets and livestock in 2014.
Wildlife officials tell the Miami Herald that both records show how complicated managing the rebounding panther population has become. Just a couple dozen panthers remained in the 1990s. Officials say the cats’ growing numbers means they’re more likely to encounter humans as they roam highways, ranches and developments as they hunt.
Officials had hoped to move some panthers north of the Caloosahatchee River, but ranchers and hunters have objected to those plans.