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This cute kitten is the latest edition in an incredible conservation success story.
Florida panthers are severly endangered due to habitat loss and human encroachment. The population was on the brink of extinction by the 1950s because they were perceived as a threat to humans and livestock. Careful management by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has brought the population back to more sustainable levels, at least partially through rehabilitation and release of injured or orphaned animals. When such a release occurs, it is cause for a celebration!
One such release just happened in April this year; the big, elegant cat with the long tail can be seen loping off into the trees. Even better, biologists have discovered that another panther released in the last year has had a kitten - pictured to the right - and that it is healthy and thriving. The species is a beacon of hope for wildcat conservation, and you couldn't ask for a cuter representative of the species.