Deputies call off search for panther in Valrico after resident reports sighting

VALRICO, Fla. — The search has been called off for a panther in Valrico after a resident saw it Monday morning. 

Deputies say it was like looking for a snake in the woods.

Photo of big cat on Florida beach has the internet questioning if it's real

The sighting occurred near 1901 Cimmaron Run Drive in Valrico at approximately 8:21 a.m.

FWC and Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office personnel were on scene. 

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office helicopter was circling the area searching for the panther since the call came in. 

FWC says that they received a report from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office of a possible panther sighting in the Valrico area.

"FWC law enforcement and biologists are working diligently to follow up on this potential sighting and have not yet been able to positively identify the species of animal that was seen this morning," FWC wrote in a press release.

The Florida panther is native to Florida and is Federally protected under the Endangered Species Act. In the southeastern U.S., panthers formerly ranged throughout Florida, as far west as Arkansas and as far north as South Carolina. Today only about 120-230 adult and subadult Florida panthers remain, primarily in southwest Florida.

FWC requests that anyone who might sight a panther to report the sighting here.

Story Developing. Stay with ABC Action News for updates. 

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