Panther found dead in Highlands County

Officials say a Florida panther has been found dead from an apparent vehicle strike in central Florida.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reports that the 3-year-old male cat's body was found Tuesday on U.S. 27 in Highlands County. The remains will be taken to a Gainesville facility for a necropsy.

A total of 34 Florida panthers have been found dead in 2016, with 26 road fatalities.

Florida panthers once roamed the entire southeastern U.S., but only around 180 remain in the wild.