Panther kittens rescued after 24 hours in the wild-
Animals were orphaned at five months following the death of their mother

At first, it was another situation to panic Florida residents suffering the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

Two panthers were on the loose in Nassau County, Florida - freed after the hurricane swept a tree into the fence of their enclosure at the White Oak Conservation Centre.

Experts rushed to the scene and began to track the sibling panthers, which were free for 24 hours before finally being rescued yesterday.

However, anyone worried about loose panthers could be re-assured when they saw the size of the creatures involved.

In fact, it was the welfare of the panther kittens which was the top priority for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Luckily the kittens were discovered and returned to their pen last night after a 24-hour exploration of the land around their pen, and they were eventually recaptured by experts from the FWC, White Oak Conservation Center and local houndsmen.

Bid for freedom: The two panthers - one of which is pictured here - escaped their enclosures, but did not pose a threat to residents

The two cats, outfitted with radio collars, had been monitored continuously since the winds knocked down the tree.

The animals did not stray far from their pen, according to officials, and remained on White Oak property during the brief stint outside their pen.

Kipp Frohlich, head of the Imperiled Species Management Section at the FWC, said: 'We are happy to report that the two are back safe and sound.

'The cats were pursued by panther dogs, darted and moved back into their enclosure.'

Back home: The panthers look out from a corner of their enclosure, perhaps recalling their great escape

The two cats were initially captured when they were five months old, after they were found near the Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed in northern Collier County in September 2011.

Frohlich said: 'The two kittens, born in May 2011, were trapped by our staff due to the death of their mother.

'They were transferred to White Oak Conservation Center to be raised and prepared for release later this winter back to south Florida, where they were originally rescued, to help continue our panther recovery efforts.'

Tracked: The panthers were spotted in the wild by the FWC just after their mother had died, leaving them as orphans

White Oak is located along the St. Marys River in northeast Florida, and encompasses 7,400 acres of forest and wetlands.

Five other kittens, three females and two males of similar ages, have been raised at the centre and released in south Florida.

The pens are very secluded, and the panthers can be raised with very little contact with people.

Frohlich said: 'They are uniquely qualified to raise panthers in an environment that maximizes their chances for a successful re-introduction back into the wild.'

After their 24-hour escape, the two creatures were both examined by veterinarians and given a clean bill of health.

Scientists estimate that between 100 and 160 panther adults and sub-adults remain in south Florida.

Home to young panthers: The White Oaks visitor centre is the entrance to 7,400 acres of land

Responses to "Sandy sets panthers free in Florida after falling tree destroys enclosure (Photos)"

  1. Anonymous says:

    what a wonderful read for me this morning,,,why cant humans be and act as naturally as most animals in the wild,,,bless you all for the care and love you bestow for their benefit,,,hankyou from SURREY IN ENGLAND UNITED KINGDOM, this from Gillian Beamiss & ALISON BARR C/O FACEBOOK UK.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for saving our fellow creatures..Munay Sanko to all involved...

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