TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A white rhinoceros was shot dead less than a day after it arrived at a Florida wildlife park last year, wildlife officials said this week.
According to a report by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the incident occurred Sept. 19 at Wild Florida, a gator and drive-thru safari park about 60 miles south of Orlando in Kenansville. The park acknowledged the incident in a Facebook post on Monday.
The report said FWC investigators were called to the park about a week later after getting an anonymous tip that called the shooting “animal abuse” and “unnecessary.”
The animal was delivered to the park the day prior and was “acting very wild,” the park’s owner, Jordan Munns, told investigators. The animal was crated on a trailer, then released into a fenced-in lockdown area within the rhino enclosure, where it would stay until it was ready to be released into the full containment area.Here’s how many people were arrested at Gasparilla 2023
Munns said they observed the animal “acting aggressively” as it tried to climb over the enclosure. It eventually climbed over a guardrail to escape the lockdown area and entered the main containment area. The rhino tested the cable fence and hot wire surrounding the enclosure, but eventually calmed down and spent the night resting in the main containment area, the report said. The park was closed the next day to give it time to acclimate.
However, the next morning, the rhino began acting wild again and continued to test the fence. Staff tried to reinforce the fence by attaching more guardrail material to the top of it. They decided to shoot the animal if it breached the enclosure again.
The rhino continued to test the fence and was able to push through the hot wire and breach its containment, the report said.
Armed with high-powered rifles, staff chased the animal to a nearby cypress stand and opened fire.
“The rhino was hit several times (by gunshots) but was still able to exit the cypress stand and head east,” the report said. “It made it to the perimeter fence (and) they followed and continued shooting it. … After following it and shooting it for approximately 1/3 mile, the rhino fell and died.”
“They estimated fifteen rounds were fired at the rhino based on the shell casings they collected,” the report said.
Once the animal was dead, staff loaded it onto a trailer and drove it to a property where other animals are buried.
“Out of fear that a helicopter might spot the rhino, they dug a hole, placed the rhino in it, and covered it most of the way, leaving a portion of the head exposed for us to observe upon our arrival.”
The rhino “was in healthy condition” before it was killed, the report said. No action was taken against the park.
The park issued a statement, saying in part, “For more than twelve years, Wild Florida’s mission has been to provide an unforgettable Everglades experience that promotes a connection with animals while inspiring education and conservation. Unfortunately, we are sometimes faced with unforeseen situations and circumstances that require an immediate response to ensure the continued safety of visitors, staff, neighbors, and, most importantly, animals in our care.”
February 1, 2023 1:48 pm(UpdatedFebruary 2, 2023 2:24 pm)
Scientists are investigating the possibility thatbird fluhas been transmitted between mammals in the wild for the first time – fuelling fears it could lead to the next pandemic in humans.
In what is being described as a “mass mortality event”, more than 700 seals were found dead in December in the Caspian Sea, near to where the highly contagious H5N1 variant of avian flu was found in wild…
After an accidental gunshot wound, Mitchell Amundson’s heart stopped more than once. His Sanford Health surgeon said, “He attempted to die multiple times, and he’s still around to tell the story.” (Photo courtesy of the Amundson family; video by Jason Anschutz, Sanford Health)
Mitchell Amundson of Dilworth, Minnesota, is lucky to be alive.
“Unfortunately, I remember the accident,” said Amundson.
On the day after Thanksgiving, Amundson, age 26, was in a serious hunting accident just outside of Jamestown, North Dakota.
“As soon as it happened, my legs went numb and all of a sudden I was like, ‘Wow, this really hurts,’” he said.
While hunting coyotes with a friend, he was shot through the right flank…
Members of the Nez Perce tribe field dress a Yellowstone National Park bison just across the park border in Montana’s Gallatin National Forest in 2013.William Campbell / Corbis via Getty Images
Amember of the Nez Perce tribe was hit by a stray bullet fragment while field dressing a bison near Gardiner, Montana, on Jan. 17. The injury was not considered life threatening and no charges will be filed against the non-Native hunter whose bullet fragment ricocheted, Sheriff Brad Bichler of Park County, Montana, tellsOutdoor Life.
Story by By KIM TONG-HYUNG, Associated Press•Yesterday 3:02 PM
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SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea said Thursday it’s prepared to counter U.S. military moves with the “most overwhelming nuclear force” as it warned that the expansion of the United States’ military exercises with rival South Korea is pushing tensions to an “extreme red line.”
In this photo provided by South Korean Defense Ministry, U.S. Air Force B-1B bombers, center, F-22 fighter jets and South Korean Air Force F-35 fighter jets, bottom, fly over South Korea Peninsula during a joint air drill in South Korea, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2023. North Korea on Thursday threatened the “toughest reaction” to the United States’ expanding joint military exercises with South Korea to counter the North’s growing nuclear weapons ambitions, claiming that the allies were pushing tensions to an “extreme red line.” (South…
Unreserved48:15How Indigenous people are strengthening fur traditions in an anti-fur world
Inuvialuit fashion designer Taalrumiq says she knows first-hand how using real animal fur can foster harsh criticism and anger in people who are against the fur industry.
Taalrumiq, whose English name is Christina Gruben King, creates couture pieces and fine art using the materials and designs of her ancestors. She travels from her home in northern British Columbia to sell these pieces and often has to explain to non-Indigenous people — whose responses she say can range from discomfort, to disgust, to anger — the uses, beauty and cultural importance of fur.
It doesn’t always go as expected.
“I had a booth at Indigenous fashion arts in Toronto, so we had quite a variety of customers coming through,” Taalrumiq told Unreserved host Rosanna Deerchild. “And there’s one man who came to my booth about five different times throughout the day. First few times he was arguing with me about fur and [saying], ‘It’s disgusting,’ and ‘How could you?'”
Taalrumiq remained calm and tried to explain the beauty and utility of the products she was selling.
“He kept coming back to look and then started to touch them,” she continued. “And then actually came back the next day and … he bought some earrings for his partner.”
Anti-fur sentiment has made it harder for the people who hunt and trap animals, as well as artists like Taalrumiq who use these harvested materials, to make a living from selling their wares. Animal rights activists have long called the fur industry inhumane and unnecessary.
But despite the negativity toward using and selling fur, Indigenous people say fur can be a sustainable, respectful and even luxurious material for clothing, accessories and art. They believe it’s important to preserve fur’s place in Indigenous cultures and traditional economies.
Economic opportunities in the North
In Johanna Tiemessen’s role with the Northwest Territories government, she helps small communities turn their lifestyles on the land — through activities like hunting, trapping and fishing — into economic opportunities. She also helps artists using these materials bring their work to market.
The N.W.T.’s department of finance notes that while trapping doesn’t make up a huge part of the territory’s total economy, it’s a sector that is important to many residents — especially those in smaller communities — for food, clothing and income.
“But they’re not thinking about the damage that they’re doing to … small Indigenous communities where economic development opportunities are scarce.”
The N.W.T. government offers several programs to support these traditional practices, including a Hide and Fur program, which helps artisans access affordable materials; a Seal Certification program that gives Indigenous harvesters an exemption to the European Union’s seal ban; and the Genuine Mackenzie Valley Fur program, which gives N.W.T. trappers access to the international fur auction market.
She says in her eyes, all of this work isn’t just about changing anti-fur sentiment or getting consumers to purchase fur; it’s about something bigger.
“It’s part of our country’s move towards reconciliation of supporting Indigenous communities to have [economic] opportunities,” she said.
Knowledge passed down through generations
No fur from the territory is farmed, Tiemessen said. Fur farms breed and raise animals for their fur, and are considered cruel to animals that would otherwise be living in the wild. According to Humane Society International, fur farms have been banned in many countries, including the United Kingdom, Austria and the Netherlands.
Instead of being farmed, N.W.T. fur is harvested sustainably by people like Nathan Kogiak.
Kogiak, who is Inuvialuit and lives in Yellowknife, says he learned the skill of trapping as a young child, from his father.
“He loved being in the bush. He loved being outside,” Kogiak said. “It’s definitely something that he made sure to teach me. How to trap, how to survive out there … what to do in certain situations. It was great knowledge to be handed down.”
Kogiak doesn’t rely solely on trapping for income — he has a full-time job with the N.W.T. government, working on the Hide and Fur program, and traps in the winter — but he has seen the prices of furs fluctuate drastically year to year, making his returns unpredictable.
He says he recognizes that the negative views of the fur industry play a role in how economically viable hunting and trapping can be. But this negativity, he suggested, stems from ignorance.
“I don’t want that word [ignorance] to be demeaning in any way,” Kogiak said. “It’s just that people think that I’m trapping all these animals, but it’s really I’m trapping the sick, the injured and the old because those are the animals that are hungry, starving, you know, that can’t hunt on their own.”
Healthy animals don’t go after the frozen bait he leaves in his traps, Kogiak said.
Kogiak says he believes the programs offered by the N.W.T. government are vital to help trappers continue this long-standing practice and keep their traditional fur economy going. And he hopes to pass his trapping knowledge down to his niece, who’s nearly three years old.
“I don’t even know what generation trapper I am. It’s always been in our family,” he said. “It connects me with my culture. It makes me feel good about myself. And it’s just super relaxing, calming and something I foresee myself doing until I’m an elder.”
WATCH | Seal skin and Inuit culture:
Artists featured in Qaumajuq hope to educate Canadians about Inuit culture
2 years ago
Duration6:05The Winnipeg Art Gallery launched a virtual tour of Qaumajuq — a new 40,000 square foot space devoted to Inuit art. Artists Beatrice Deer and Julie Grenier talk about the importance of seal skin in Inuit diet and why sewing is a vital skill in Nunavut.
‘Sense of identity and belonging’
Taalrumiq, whose home community is Tuktoyaktuk, says nothing compares to real fur when you’re out in the frigid N.W.T. temperatures.
“Fake fur falls short. It doesn’t have the same qualities or characteristics. It’s not as fluffy. [It] doesn’t have the guard hairs or the undercoat, like the fluffy, fuzzy undercoat. As soon as it gets wet, it’s matted, and then you’re going to have frozen ice around your face, which is not good,” she said.
“And it’s just not as beautiful and luxurious … not to mention, it doesn’t biodegrade,” she continued. “Real fur is biodegradable. It’s sustainable.”
Taalrumiq collects a lot of materials herself — like fish vertebrae from the beach, which she can turn into earrings — and with the help of friends and family.
“A lot of times [the materials are] byproducts of subsistence living,” she said. “If someone has gone out hunting, things like the fur, the antlers, even the hooves … we’re not going to necessarily eat those parts, so then I can use them in my art.”
It’s what her ancestors did. And creating clothing and art that resembles the fine skills of her seamstress grandmothers makes her feel at peace, she said.
“There’s something to be said for wearing traditional clothing that just makes you feel proud to be who you are,” Taalrumiq added. “It’s so important [for] not only Inuvialiut, but Indigenous people to remember where we come from. Our connection to nature gives us a sense of identity and belonging.”
Part of her efforts to challenge anti-fur sentiment takes place on TikTok, where she shares funny skits, her art and sewing and aspects of Inuvialuit culture.
She does get push back from people who aren’t comfortable with fur, but overall “the response has been positive,” she noted.
“There’s still a lot of educating to do, but that’s good,” Taalrumiq said. “I’m here for it.”
By Kristi Niemeyer Editor | January 26, 2023 12:00 AM
On Sunday, a buck and doe casually made their way across Highway 93 by the stoplight at First Interstate Bank in Polson as motorists slowed down to let the two jaywalkers pass.
However, their days of strolling city streets, alleys and yards with impunity could be coming to an end. The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Wildlife Management Program has recently launched a trapping project – formally called an “urban deer reduction program” – within the Polson city limits.
According to a recent press release from CSKT’s Natural Resources Department, “Conflicts between deer and humans have become a prominent wildlife management concern, especially in urban and suburban areas.” The trapping program aims “to mitigate the impacts of deer conflicts and reduce complaints.”
While hunting is the primary and preferred wildlife management tool for curbing population growth, “there are laws and ordinances that prohibit the discharge of firearms in city limits.”
Polson City Manager Ed Meece says a trap was recently set up on the Polson Golf Course. “It was described to me as ‘a big box with curtains that the deer walks into’,” he said. “I’m surprised a deer would voluntarily enter one of these devices, but they aren’t known for their superior intellect either.”
Meat harvested from healthy deer carcasses will be donated to the Tribes’ Food Sovereignty Program, Elders Program, Silvia’s Store, Peoples Food Sovereignty Program, and directly to tribal members in need.
“A lot of elderly folks grew up on wild game and still depend on it,” says Stephanie Gillin, information and education program manager for the department.
The Wildlife Management Program is seeking landowners in urban areas surrounding Polson who are willing to allow trapping of deer on their lands. Those who wish to participate in this project as a landowner or tribal members in need of game meat are encouraged to contact Kaylie Durglo at the Tribal Wildlife Management Program at 406-883-2888 ext. 7284 or email@example.com.
On Jan. 18 the Western Environmental Law Center filed alawsuiton behalf of three Montana-based organizations against a smattering of federal land and wildlife management agencies and officials. Their complaint? Euthanizing or relocating problem grizzly bears actively works against species recovery goals under the Endangered Species Act.
Animal activism organization WildEarth Guardians joined with Trap Free Montana and the Western Watersheds Project, an organization that denounces public-land livestock grazing, as plaintiffs in the suit, which was filed in Montana District Court. They mainly challenge activities of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, commonly known as APHIS. The Wildlife Services branch of APHIS offers predator management assistance out of its state offices, largely for livestock producers.
Dalin Tidwell, director of the Montana state office, is among the defendants named in the suit…