Orphaned Panther Cubs Getting Treated at Tampa Zoo

TAMPA -- Experts from the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and other veterinarians are caring for a pair of Florida panther cubs, or kittens, orphaned in Collier County, after their mother died following an unknown neurological disorder affecting panthers and bobcats.

They're being kept at ZooTampa at Lowry Park, which operates a rehab facility for Florida panthers.

Dr. Lara Cusack of FWC's Research Institute says the cubs are currently active, playful and healthy, although vets can't predict whether they'll fall victim to the same illness.

FWC spotted the mother on cameras in July struggling to walk. They removed the cubs for observation and euthanized the mother when her health deteriorated.

Once they're cleared from quarantine, the zoo plans to place the panthers on public display. FWC says the kittens will eventually be placed in a sanctuary area but their final destination hasn't been determined.

BluePearl Animal Specialty Hospital of Florida and University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine are collaborating with FWC and the zoo on the cubs' care.

Listen to an interview with Dr. Ashley Ayoob, who first treated the panther kittens at her hospital in Naples.

See a photo gallery of the panthers below:

Photo Credit: BluePearl

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