An investigation is under way into the apparent shooting death of an endangered Florida panther in Big Cypress National Preserve.
Preserve officials say the dead panther, with what appeared to be a gunshot wound, was found Saturday in the Turner River Unit of Big Cypress.
Anyone with information that directly leads to an arrest, a criminal conviction, a civil penalty assessment, or forfeiture of property on the subject or subjects responsible for the suspected unlawful take of this Florida panther may be eligible for a reward.
"The Florida panther is one of the most endangered mammals in the United States. This is a serious incident and we are asking the public to assist us with discovering details related to this incident," said Big Cypress Superintendent Pedro Ramos.
The Florida Panther is protected under the Endangered Species Act. The maximum criminal penalties for the unlawful taking of a Florida Panther are one year imprisonment and $100,000 fine per individual.
Anyone with information on the death of this panther or any others, past or future, is urged to contact National Park Service Special Agent David Mayeski at 1-800-788-0511.