Elbert County wild animal sanctuary euthanizes nearly a dozen of lions, tigers and bears

The Lion’s Gate Wild Animal Sanctuary near Denver, Colorado euthanized all eleven of its animals after the Elbert County commissioners denied the refuge’s repeated request to move the wild animals to an 80 acre plot of land south of Elizabeth. Instead the animals were all killed on April 20 citing recurring flooding on the property deemed the conditions unsafe.

According to the Denver Post, Commissioner Grant Thayer said a unanimous vote denying the special-use permit to move the sanctuary was made because “it was felt the community impact would best be served.” A previous vote to move the facility was denied in 2006. According to local politics,  housing wild animals was not appropriate in a area known for horses. Neighbors complained about lions roaring at night and the possibility of the wild animals escaping. Lion’s Gate owners, Joan Laub and Peter Winney, argued that the animals at the sanctuary were old and posed little risk. In addition they would erect a ten-foot high electrified fence. As to the lions roaring, the owners stated the two lions roared once a day and just for an insignificant amount of time. Still the special permit was denied and all of the animals were killed.

On Wednesday, the executive director of the Wildcat Sanctuary in Sandstone, Minnesota sent out a letter expressing “their hearts break knowing these were senseless deaths of animals that deserved so much more compassion.” The Denver Post reports Tammy Thies, executive director of the organization, stated they had accepted animals from Lion’s Gate in the past and euthanizing these animals this month was a “selfish move” that “had nothing to do with the welfare of the animals.”

(Photos of Elbert County euthanized wildlife via the Denver Post and Lion’s Gate Wild Animal Sanctuary)

Rest in peace; we all regret you had to die.

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Read about 2 dogs found decapitated in Colorado Two dogs found decapitated on train tracks




Public school employee said to have done ‘happy dance’ after running over goose on purpose

In Norwood, Massachusetts, an employee of the Sharon Public Schools faces animal cruelty charges after a witness reported the man doing a “happy dance” after intentionally using his car to chase, kill and beat a goose in Norwood.  Rory Marty has been charged with a motor vehicle offense, animal cruelty and drug possession; authorities found Viagra, however he had no prescription for the drug.

According to Fox News, the unnamed witness told authorities she saw a man and a woman in a silver vehicle driving directly towards two geese that had been drinking water from a puddle near Short Street. At first the woman thought the driver was just being a jerk, but then noticed the man turned his vehicle around and took aim at the geese again.

“…the vehicle stopped and paused and appeared to ‘line up’ the geese in order to hit them with the vehicle,” the report stated. “The vehicle flashed its lights and then drove directly at the geese.”

One of the geese had been hit by the car, and then the woman passenger got out of the car, picked up a stick and hit the goose; the man quickly followed. Once the goose was killed, the witness stated the couple did a “happy dance.”

“Maybe if he kills like this, he can kill anybody else,” the witness told Fox News.

The witness reported the vehicle’s license plate number to police and videoed the disturbing situation. Police tracked down the man, and said he was wearing the same shirt as the one in the video. Marty appeared in court on Thursday and has been released on personal recognizance; he is due back in court in June.

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UPDATE: Heartbreaking: Rescuers not able to help whale trapped in ice

UPDATE on humpback whale trapped in the ice: Wayne Ledwell of the Whale Release and Strandings Group confirmed Monday afternoon that the whale had died.

A heartbreaking situation is being discussed with a rescue group who have described a whale trapped in the ice at Cook’s Cove near Old Pelican N.I. According to the Whale Release and Strandings’ Facebook page, volunteers and crew state the ice is just too thick to navigate with an icebreaker,and they would not be able to euthanize the suffering animal. On Saturday afternoon, the following news was reported:

“The Whale Release and Strandings crew was in Cook’s Cove today assessing the whale and the situation. The whale is entrapped in heavy Arctic pack ice and is in very shallow water. There is nothing that can be done to assist unless the wind changes and frees the ice in the cove. An icebreaker would not be able to navigate in there and we can’t euthanize the animal. Please respect the animal in the situation it has found itself and do not attempt to touch the animal but just to leave it.”

The humpback has been stranded in the icy waters off of Newfoundland since Friday and has been crying “like a baby.” Tragically he is jammed in and can barely move; the his tail has been bleeding. Rescuers are hoping the wind changes so local residents could possibly get in and free the whale. Tragically, he is becoming very weak, however on Sunday the water around him slightly rose. Rescuers can only hope for the best.

The Whale Release and Strandings is a non-profit organization that tends to the entrapments and strandings of marine animals, such as whales, turtles, and basking sharks.

Photos of humpback whale trapped courtesy of Whale Release and Strandings

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Read about Sierra who has been stuck in boarding for years.Stuck in boarding for years

Oregon man could have faced charges and fine for saving dying bear cub

The U.S. Senate recently voted to make it legal for hunters to kill bear cubs inside of a den, but an Oregon hiker who rescued an abandoned and dying bear cub could have faced charges, jail time and a hefty fine for his act of compassion, which likely saved an ailing bear cub’s life. According to ABC News, Oregon officials have decided to simply give Corey Hancock, the Salem man who saved the three-month-old bear cub on Monday evening, a warning.

Sgt. James Halsey explained why Hancock has been given a pass this time around, “Oregon State Police contacted the male subject who picked up the bear cub. Due to the totality of circumstances, to include that the adult male subject thought he was helping the bear cub without knowledge that the mother bear may have been nearby, a criminal citation was not issued to the male subject.”

Hancock found the bear cub while he was hiking the Santiam River Trail. When Hancock first found the cub, he explained that the bear was “barely breathing” and motionless. After moving away from the sickly cub, and watching for the mother bear to arrive, Hancock decided to remove the baby because he was not moving, and “twitching.” He stated, “He did kind of twitch a couple times so I knew he was dying or going through the motions of death when I found him.”

Hancock bundled the cub into a cozy shirt and rushed him to a wildlife rehabilitation center for care. On March 28, the Turtle Ridge Wildlife Center updated Facebook followers about the bear cub:

Update! Yesterday evening we received a malnourished, lethargic black bear cub. The cub, nicknamed “Elkhorn,” received several rounds of sub cutaneous fluids. His hydration and body temperature finally normalized around 2a.m. Nearly 12 hours later, he is showing significant signs of improvement!

Elkhorn was transferred to a wildlife veterinarian with Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife where he will have a full health exam, and pending the results, will be placed in the care of an out-of-state center to continue his rehabilitation.

The organization commented on this particular situation, and Hancock’s decision to lend aid:

It’s recommended to call ODFW or us here at Turtle Ridge if you encounter wildlife you think may need help. This was an uncommon situation and we appreciate Corey for trusting us with the distressed cub’s care. We are also grateful to our amazing community of supporters whose generosity ensures Turtle Ridge Wildlife Center is here to help in emergency situations such as this.

(Images via Facebook and Turtle Ridge Wildlife Center FB page)

Man shot and killed his newly rescued German shepherd – read why he claims that he ended her life here.

Man fatally shot rescued shepherd

Giraffe cam: April ‘prepping’ for birth as calf is active

In the early Sunday morning bulletin, the Animal Adventure Park in Harpusville, located in upstate New York, announced more news about the impending birth. Will it be soon? Obviously April had no intentions of a St. Patrick’s Day birth: 

“Keepers have noted a calming down of the calf and April carrying everything a bit towards the rear. This is exactly what we want! Wax caps are still in place. Appetite remains strong.”

On Saturday, more than 70 million animal lovers thought for sure the baby would make her debut into the world. Her keeper Alyssa Swilley described the mom-to-be as eating everything in sight and “prepping for something.” The baby was said to have “mastered karate” and making as “much movement as a seasoned sportsman.”

Just in case, you’re just tuning into the April the giraffe’s pending motherhood extravaganza, (to humans although not likely to April) this will  be her fourth calf and her mate Oliver’s first calf. The park boasts some of the largest pens in the nation as far as room for the giraffes to stretch their legs, and the indoor housing section is meant for additional care and health of the animals as well as educational enrichment for the appreciation and knowledge of the species.

Try to imagine – moms all over the world – giraffes are pregnant for 15 months; at birth the calf will be nearly six foot tall and weigh in about 150 pounds upon delivery. April will be in charge of her own calf and if all goes as planned, the baby will be weaned after six to ten months – although that could take longer. Once the baby is born, there will be a contest to name her. Once the baby is fully weaned, she will be transferred to another facility and begin a new breeding program. Interbreeding is not successful nor ever recommended.

And one more fact for the day from the organization:

“The closest living relative of the giraffe is the okapi. Giraffe and Okapi are the only living members of the family Giraffidae. The family was once much larger, but all other members are now extinct. Preservation and conservation matters!”

For more information about the Animal Adventure Park, please click here.


Poachers break into Paris zoo, shoot rhino and saw off its horn

A four-year-old male rhinoceros was found dead on Tuesday morning at the Parc Zoologique de Thoiry; he had been shot three times in the head by poachers, and his horn had been chopped off. This is believed to be the first incident of poaching from a zoo animal in Europe. A press release on the zoo’s Facebook page described the disturbing and heartbreaking discovery:

“In the night of Monday, 6 March, to Tuesday, 7 March 2017 of the perps broke into in the field of Thoiry (50 miles west of Paris) despite the security measures put in place and killed one of the three white rhino in order to seize the One of his horns. The whole staff is extremely shocked. A survey of gendarmerie investigation in the early hours of the morning. The direction of the domaine de thoiry’s gonna file a complaint.” (translation)Rhino killed at paris zoo 2

The white rhinoceros, named Vince, is believed to have been attacked by at least two poachers in a protected clearing where two other rhinos lived. Vince’s second horn had been partially hacked away as if the criminals ran out of time and had to run away. Zoo personnel and authorities believe the poachers had intended to kill the other rhinos also –  Bruno, 5, and Gracie 37; both animals are said to be safe.

According to the website for the Thoiry Zoo, Vince came from the Netherlands where he was born in 2012. In 2015, Bruno and Vince arrived at the zoo. There are about 21,000 white rhinos in the world  living in the wild; mainly in South Africa and Uganda, but the species is hugely under threat from poaching, reports the Evening Standard. The white rhino is particularly vulnerable, because it is generally very passive in nature and has poor eye-sight.

Rhino horns are highly prized in traditional Asian medicine, where they are ground into a fine powder or turned into tablets to be used as a treatment for a variety of diseases; especially as a sexual enhancing potent. Local authorities state rhino horns can bring up to $41,000 on the black market.

The outrage on social media about the killing of Vince has gone viral. Such comments as:

Alexandre Lemerle wrote: “We’re in France but people can still kill rhinos for their horns…”

Jerome Leheutre posted: “New proof of human greed! A rhinoceros has been slaughtered and his horn severed at Thoiry zoo.”

Morgane L. wrote: “A bunch of a******s broke into Thoiry and killed a rhino to cut his horn off. I’m losing faith in humanity…..”

Rest in peace Vince. We do hope you get some justice. This kind of cruelty is unforgivable.

(Photos of Vince the rhino shot by poachers via the Thoiry Zoo Facebook page)

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Kill a coyote in exchange for free hunting license in Georgia

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources is calling it the Georgia Coyote Challenge where the state is inviting people to hunt or trap coyotes to win a prize.  Humane advocates are outraged and call the hunting and trapping of the animals as cruel and absolutely inhumane. The challenge begins in March and goes to the end of August; the winner of the challenge will receive a free lifetime hunting license. On the organization’s website, the details are explained. No guidelines as to the humane killing or trapping of the animals are mentioned:

“Each coyote killed, up to five (5) a month per hunter/trapper, will earn an entry into a monthly drawing for a lifetime license (or equal credit for purchase of hunting/fishing licenses)*.

Currently, scientific research suggests that removal of coyotes during the spring and summer is the most advantageous time to reduce the impact of predation on native wildlife. We want to encourage coyote removal efforts during this critical period.”

For the last ten years, the Atlanta Coyote Project has been documenting and tracking coyotes in the Atlanta area and contend the hunt coincides with pup-rearing season where both the male and female are involved in raising and feeding their offspring. If the killing is initiated and both parents are killed, the puppies will all starve to death or be attacked by other predators. According to the Atlanta Coyote Project’s Facebook, the state agency’s mission is to “sustain, enhance, protect and conserve Georgia’s natural, historic and cultural resources” and to sponsor such a program is reprehensible. Although  the Coyote Challenge  refers to coyotes as “non-native predators,” and experts agree the animals are relatively recent immigrants into the southeastern United States, coyotes have come to the area  because humans have killed all of the native wolves.

“Killing predators leads to unintended ecological consequences. Past efforts to eradicate wolves have clearly shown this,” state the organization.

In addition, the Atlanta Coyote Project states the following:

“Hard data showing that coyotes significantly impact the populations of other wildlife species is scant to nonexistent. Recent studies in South Carolina concluded that the negative impact of coyotes on deer populations is minimal (Kilgo et al., 2016). Secondly, we do not believe that coyote “removal” will reduce the population long-term. More than likely, it will lead to an INCREASE in coyote numbers over time as competition is reduced and a resurgence occurs. To see the ineffectiveness of lethal control as a wildlife management strategy, one needs to look no further than the estimated 70,000 coyotes that are killed each year by the USDA’s Wildlife Services.”

The Atlanta Coyote Project is working with state legislators to ban this type of hunting challenge, which they say other states have done. For more information or to contact the Georgia  Department of Natural Resources, click here.

(Photo courtesy of Atlanta Coyote Project)

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Click here to read about another coyote recently removed and killed  from a restaurant in New Orleans. Animal advocates were outraged.


Tourist slapped with huge fine for taking selfie with endangered shark

A tourist on vacation in Brazil has been slapped with a $6,200 (U.S funds) fine after she tried to grab an endangered shark out of the ocean and use it to pose for selfies. The woman was videoed wrestling with the small shark that latched onto her hand during the struggle at Brazil’s Fernarndo de Noronha, an archipelago of 21 islands and islets located in the Atlantic Ocean offshore of the Brazilian coast. The woman and her boyfriend spotted the lemon shark swimming near the beach line and decided to pluck it out of the water and use it to take selfies for their Facebook page.

On Wednesday, a court charged the woman and her boyfriend with animal cruelty. Perhaps an equal amount of karma for the woman happened after she needed four stitches on her hand to repair the damage from the shark bite.

“The place is considered an animal sanctuary with all it’s nature protected and strictly watched over. All that she earned were four stitches in her right hand and a big fine from the authorities for the environmental crime,” stated one Reddit user.

It didn’t take long for the photos and the video to go viral – nearly every comment criticized the couple for their blatant disrespect of wild animals and protected environmental areas. According to 9NewsAu, the Chico Mendes Biodiversity Institute lists lemon sharks as a protected species.  Although it is not known if this shark survived the trauma it must have endured, this incident follows a group of Argentina tourists who plucked a baby dolphin out of the ocean to take selfies and passed it around to multiple people. Tragically the dolphin died.

What a sad place for animals when they are forced to endure such egregious treatment from selfish humans. If only every judge assess such fines – surely this madness would stop.

(Photo of tourist taking selfie with endangered shark screenshot YouTube.)

Watch video here:

A man and his 1400 Kodiak bear share heartwarming bond

If you’re a skeptic about bears and humans capable of  having bonded relationships, this larger than life 1,400 pound Kodiak bear breaks all of the rules and delicately cuddles up to his best human in a viral photo and video of the two hugging and kissing. That special moment, caught on video by a staff member at the Orphaned Wildlife Center in Otisville, New York, can’t help but make one smile.

And now for Jimbo’s story. This Kodiak has a larger than life story when he stands on all fours; making him over nine feet tall. He is one of the oldest bears at the center, estimated to be about 20-years-old and gets along great with people. Jim Kowalczik, shown with Jimbo, has been working with the bear since he first arrived as a cub.

“Jimbo doesn’t do any performing or tricks. He has been with us since a cub – 21 years this month. He came from a situation where he was born in captivity and ended – had no skills to be released back into the wild,” has been posted on Facebook as the video continues to draw lots of smiles and ‘oohs and aahs.”

And if you’re wondering why the bears at the Orphaned Wildlife Center aren’t hibernating, it seems that captive bears just don’t. Although they do slow down a great deal and sleep most of the day, staff members explained, the bears also eat less. During the spring, summer and fall, Jimbo normally eats 30 pounds of food a day. In the winter he eats less than five pounds. His favorite food is red meat – thankfully he doesn’t see his caretakers as dinner.

Jimbo is the largest of the center’s 11 listed bears. The mission of the rescue is to “provide safety and nurturing to animals that are truly orphaned and prepare them to be return to a life in the wild.” Those who cannot make it on their own find Orphaned Wildlife Center as a sanctuary.

To help this organization, donations can be sent by following this link.

Photos and video of Jimbo the Kodiak bear courtesy of Orphaned Wildlife Center.

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Orphaned baby manatee death blamed on human trash

An orphaned baby manatee, dubbed “Emoji,” passed away days ago. The calf had been rescued in October by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Little Emoji, just weeks old at the time, was critically ill and his stomach was found to be full of plastic bags and trash.

The calf recuperated under the care of the Lowry Park Zoo, and though he appeared to be recovering from his poor state of health, he passed away. On January 31, the zoo updated Facebook followers of the calf’s tragic passing:

We are deeply saddened to share that early Monday morning, Emoji, our rescued orphaned manatee calf passed away.

The zoo noted that Emoji’s death is sad reminder of the deadly impact that trash from humans can take on wildlife:

Emoji is a tragic illustration of the consequences that simple human actions, like throwing trash away in waterways has on the world around us. Alongside helping educate the public about manatee care and the dangers of pollution, Emoji allowed the Zoo’s veterinary staff to learn more about critical manatee care. Our findings will benefit future manatee research and breakthroughs.


TLPZ remains steadfast in our commitment to the rescue, rehabilitation and release of manatees. We will also continue our campaign to develop a manatee emoji, now as a memoriam of the young calf and a way to educate the public on the dangers that face this species in the wild.

We will miss you, Emoji.