VERO BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Federal wildlife officials are offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the shooting of a Florida panther.
Motorists found the adult panther's carcass alongside a Collier County road on March 22. An investigation by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission determined that the animal had died from a gunshot wound.
The Florida panther is an endangered species, with fewer than 200 remaining in the wild. Intentionally trapping, hunting, injuring or killing a panther is illegal.
Florida law makes it a third-degree felony to kill a panther, with a penalty of up to five years in jail and up to a $5,000 fine. An additional federal penalty includes up to a year in prison and fines of $100,000 per individual or $200,000 per organization.