AP

Panther, rescued as orphaned kitten, gives birth

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COPELAND, Fla. (AP) — A female Florida panther rescued as an orphaned kitten and raised in captivity has given birth.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reports the panther gave birth a few months after her release back into the wild. Biologists found her 1-month-old kitten Saturday at the Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park in southwest Florida.

The panther mother was rescued alongside her brother as 5-month-old kittens in September 2011 after their mother was found dead. Both panthers were raised in the White Oak Conservation Center in Yulee and released as young adults.

Biologists say kitten survival rates are low, but the kitten they found Saturday is healthy and feisty. She was evaluated and tagged for identification to document whether she one day becomes part of the endangered adult population.