Florida panther killed by hunter/Georgia Department of Natural Resources

Florida panther killed by hunter/Georgia Department of Natural Resources

A Georgia hunter was fined $2,000 and sentenced to two years probation Wednesday for killing a Florida panther that had strayed hundreds of miles from its South Florida birthplace.

David Adams, 60, was hunting deer in Troup County, Ga., on Nov. 16, 2008 when he shot the panther, a federal endangered species, according to a news release from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The dead panther was identified as the offspring of Florida Panther 137,  a panther affixed with a radio collar for purposes of surveillance and study in South Florida.

Adams acknowledged that he knew he was shooting a species of cougar, for which there is no open season in Georgia.The Florida panther is a subspecies of a wide-ranging cat known in the west as the mountain lion and elsewhere as the puma, panther or cougar.

Tom MacKenzie, spokesman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said no one knows how the panther ended up so far from the known range of the species, which is south and southwest of Lake Okeechobee.

“It doesn’t matter how it got there,” he said. “There’s no business to be shooting it.”

Adams is also prohibited from hunting or obtaining a hunting license during the period of his probation. He was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.