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Officials hope to release rehabilitated panther

LABELLE, Fla. (AP) — Wildlife officials hope to finally release an endangered Florida panther that was rehabilitated after a car crash.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says the panther's release in southeastern Hendry County is now tentatively scheduled for Monday afternoon.

Two scheduled releases last week had to be postponed after the young female panther eluded capture inside its 5-acre pen at the White Oak Conservation Center in Yulee.

The panther was rescued as a kitten in May. It needed surgery for injuries that included a broken leg, rib fractures and bruising around its lungs.

The panther is an endangered species, and it's rare for wildlife officials to treat them in captivity. Only around 160 panthers are believed to roam southern Florida.

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