Video shared by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) shows the moment a mother panther was reunited with her young kitten after the two reportedly became separated. Watch the video above.
According to FWC, back in March, someone found the roughly four-month-old panther cub in southwestern Florida and noticed that it was separated from its mother.
The kitten was taken to the Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens in Naples, Florida, for a health assessment while biologists searched the area for signs of its mother.
"Initially, there was no sign of an adult female panther, so FWC and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists used towels with the kitten’s scent to mark along nearby trails in hope of attracting the (mother panther) to the area to reunite her with her offspring," FWC said in a Facebook post.
They placed the kitten inside a cage and set up a camera with a livestream to watch in case the mom came by. She didn't that night.
"Not certain if the (mother panther) was alive or in the area, the decision was made to transport the kitten to White Oak Conservation in Yulee, FL for rehab care," FWC said. "Sure enough, the next night, trail camera footage showed a panther walking by the kitten release site."
Staff confirmed the tracks were of an adult female and decided to transport the kitten back to Naples, where it was placed in the cage in front of a camera. The mom didn't show up again.
Teams tried a third attempt – and mom showed up.
"That evening, a female panther approached and immediately showed maternal behavior toward the kitten. FWC panther biologist released the kitten from the cage, reuniting mother and daughter."
The kitten was given a collar with a temporary radio to track its movement. FWC said it indicated that the kitten is "alive and well" and being cared for by its mother.