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  • This July 2009 handout photo provided by the journal Science shows a three-week old Florida panther kitten in the Picayune Strand State Forest.  In the quest to save the endangered Florida panther, their Texas cousins were the cat's meow. Fifteen years ago, Florida imported some wild panthers from Texas as fresh blood for the dwindling Florida cats. Now scientists have created an astonishingly in-depth family tree of today's Florida panthers, and found the program not only boosted the population _ it left a group of cats who are genetically hardier.  (AP Photo/Science)

    Florida panthers bound back thanks to Texas mates

    In the quest to save the endangered Florida panther, their Texas cousins were the cat's meow. Wildlife biologists moved eight female panthers from Texas _ close relatives yet genetically distinct _ into south Florida 15 years ago in hopes of boosting reproduction, and the immigration paid off.

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