ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.  — Florida wildlife officials are investigating a disorder that causes Florida panthers to have trouble walking or difficulty coordinating their back legs.

A video from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission shows the affected panthers walking abnormally, mostly kittens. Trail cameras in three counties identified eight endangered panthers and one bobcat walking with a hitch in their step.

Fish and Wildlife Research Institute director Gil McRae says numerous diseases and possible causes have been ruled out, but a definitive cause has not yet been determined.

McRae also says that they are testing for potential toxins, rat poison, infection or nutrient deficiencies.

The endangered animal population is believed to be between 120 to 230 in number.


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