Wildlife officials are investigating a mystery disorder affecting some panthers and bobcats in Florida which leaves them unable to walk properly.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) said it was looking into the issue, with the affected animals having “exhibited some degree of walking abnormally or difficulty coordinating their back legs”.
Video footage has since emerged showing the animals struggling to walk.
The group said it confirmed neurological damage in one panther and one bobcat, and that camera footage captured eight panthers, mainly kittens, and one adult bobcat “displaying varying degrees of this condition”.
Gil McRae, director of FWC’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, said: “While the number of animals exhibiting these symptoms is relatively few, we are increasing monitoring efforts to determine the full scope of the issue.
“Numerous diseases and possible causes have been ruled out – a definitive cause has not yet been determined. We’re working with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and a wide array of experts from around the world to determine what is causing this condition.”
Officials are testing for various potential toxins – including rat pesticide – and infectious diseases and nutritional deficiencies that could be affecting the cats.
They are calling on members of the public to submit any video footage they have of panthers and bobcats having issues with their rear legs.
Florida panthers, which are native to the region, are endangered and there are about 120 to 230 adult panthers in the population.
Source: SKY NEWS