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If Ears Could Talk

Meet Florida panther FP263, or as researchers affectionately call him, No Ears.

No Ears was first spotted on trail cameras in southwest Florida around the Cypress Dome Trails in 2018. He was dubbed “No Ears” by a citizen scientist due to the panther’s distinct tiny ears that are easy to identify on trail cameras.

FWC panther experts believe his mangled ears were likely caused by old injuries from fighting with other male panthers. Young males will search for their own territories after leaving their family units, but due to habitat loss and fragmentation, it is not uncommon for males to fight over territory.

While most of our very small panther population can be found in southwest Florida, males have been documented in other areas of the Florida peninsula. One male even ventured into western Georgia where he was shot and killed in 2008.

Estimated at around eight years old and still ruling his territory, No Ears is a particularly interesting panther to track due to his injuries and past movements caught on trail cams. Luckily, he was recently radio-collared by FWC’s panther research team.

A full veterinary physical exam was performed, including routine bloodwork and an infectious disease screening. Biologists also collected body measurements along with hair and skin samples for genetic testing. Learning about an individual animal’s health is important not only for the well-being of that animal, but also as part of an assessment of the health of the population.

Armed with more data about these amazing animals than ever before, FWC researchers leverage the information to protect Florida’s state animal. You can support this type of research, as well as rehabilitation efforts for injured panthers, by donating to our Florida panther fund or adopting a Florida panther plush.

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