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Panther Crossing Installed Under Southwest Florida Road

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LABELLE (CBSMiami/AP) — As more and more panthers are being killed passing cars, authorities are hoping a new crossing under a southwest Florida road will keep cars from colliding with the big cats as they expand their range north.

An underpass and fencing have been added to a project to widen State Road 80 in Hendry County. Larry Williams of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says that should help reduce fatal collisions along one of the busiest roads in the Florida panther's current range.

As of Monday, eight panthers have been killed by vehicles this year. Last year, a record 25 panthers died that way.

Recent tracks and photographs of panthers near the State Road 80 project suggest that the cats are ranging beyond southwest Florida. Officials say that panthers need to expand their range north in order for the species to survive.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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