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Officials release rehabilitated panther

11:50 PM, Mar 10, 2014   |    comments
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LABELLE, Fla. (AP) - Wildlife officials have finally released an endangered Florida panther that was rehabilitated after a car crash.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reports that the panther was released in southeastern Hendry County Monday afternoon.

Two scheduled releases last week had to be postponed after the young female panther eluded capture inside its 5-acre pen at the White Oak Conservation Center in Yulee.

The panther was rescued as a kitten in May. She needed surgery for injuries that included a broken leg, rib fractures and bruising around her lungs.

The panther is an endangered species, and it's rare for wildlife officials to treat them in captivity. Only around 160 panthers are believed to roam southern Florida.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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