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Freight Train Kills Rare Florida Panther

The Realblog with Stephanie Mallory

Freight Train Kills Rare Florida Panther

Posted 2024-02-21  by  Stephanie Mallory

The collision happened on a railroad trestle that crossed a creek

Image: florida_panther

Five rare Florida panthers have already been killed in the state this year. Image by Jo Crebbin

One of Florida’s rare panthers met its demise earlier this month when a freight train hit it as it was walking on a train trestle that crossed a creek.

According to, the 2.5-year-old panther was discovered dead on February 1.

The large wild cat was walking on a railroad trestle that crosses Fisheating Creek in Glades County when it was apparently caught off guard, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reports.

According to the FWC Division of Habitat and Species Conservation, a witness stated they saw the panther take off running as the train tried to slow down, but to no avail.

Officials explained that the panther could have escaped death by jumping into the creek below, but it didn’t.

This is the second time there’s been a documented case of a train causing the death of a Florida panther.

It’s believed there are fewer than 230 endangered adult panthers in Florida, and the most common cause of death is vehicle collision.

Records show that five panthers have already been killed in the state this year. In 2023, there were 13 documented deaths and 27 in 2022.

Florida is home to the only panther population east of the Mississippi with most of the big cats being found south of Lake Okeechobee, which borders eastern Glades County.

Florida’s panthers are “considered a conservation success story after declining to approximately 30 cats by the early 1980s,” the FWC says. “Florida panthers remain resilient in the face of adversity.”

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