Last orca born in captivity at San Antonio SeaWorld dies at 3 months old

On Monday, the last orca to have been born at SeaWorld died after just three months of life, the press release announced via SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment. The calf, named Kyara, died from “very serious and progressive health issues over the last week” at the park located in San Antonio, Texas.

“A full post-mortem examination is being conducted, which may take several weeks to be completed. Our team was treating her for a serious case of pneumonia, which was the start of her declining health… This weekend Kyara, the 3-month-old killer whale calf at SeaWorld San Antonio, was being treated at the park’s Animal Hospital for an infection. The dedicated team of veterinarians and care staff spent the last three days providing critical care for Kyara, but despite their best efforts, her health continued to decline and she passed away earlier today.”

In a prepared statement, orca trainer Julie Sigman stressed Kyara had made a tremendous impact on staff as well as guests who had visited SeaWorld to see her. In April, when Takara, the baby’s mother gave birth, SeaWorld called it “an exciting and emotional day.” In March, however, amidst a significant backlash of criticism from animal activists group throughout the nation, the breeding program was ended.

In the 2103 documentary Blackfish, which exposed the cruel treatment of the orcas and the physical, mental and emotional impact on the animals, visitors stopped visiting the park with the decline in attendance and the adverse publicity seriously affecting the company’s stock.

Although there still remain 22 orcas in the San Antonio and Orlando parks, and the whales are still taught to perform in their concrete prisons, the theatrics are coming to an end in San Diego and San Antonio. Sadly Kyara never did get the chance to swim in the ocean as any whale should be entitled, PETA lamented on Twitter  Monday morning.

Rest in peace Kyara. We are sorry you were never free.

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World’s oldest-known manatee dies after tragic accident

At the age of 69, “Snooty,” the world’s oldest-known manatee, has died. According to the South Florida Museum, the popular manatee died after a “tragic accident.”

On Sunday, the devastating news was released to followers of the South Florida Museum Facebook page:

The South Florida Museum is deeply saddened to share the news that our beloved Snooty has died. Snooty’s death was a heartbreaking accident and the circumstances are being investigated so we can be sure we know the full details of what happened.

Shortly thereafter, a press release offered more details about what happened to the beloved manatee:

Snooty was found in an underwater area only used to access plumbing for the exhibit life support system. Early indications are that a panel that is kept bolted shut had somehow been dislodged and that Snooty was able to swim in. The other three manatees undergoing rehabilitation in Snooty’s habitat — Randall, Baca and Gale — are all fine.

The natural and cultural museum added:

Snooty’s habitat undergoes a daily visual inspection and there were no indications the previous day that there was anything amiss. The Aquarium will remain closed while Museum staff continues its investigation and staff who worked with him have an opportunity to grieve.

Snooty was born on July 21, 1948 at the Miami Aquarium and Tackle Company – he moved to Bradenton in 1949. In 1979 he became Manatee County’s official mascot.

Rest in peace Snooty.

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Cookie’s foster family prepared for the day when she went to her forever home, but the adopters failed to show! Nicki, the foster mom, scrambled to find their phone number. But when she looked closer at Cookie’s file, she was absolutely stunned by what she saw written on the pages.
Read the touching story here.


Zoo issues heartbreaking update about baby giraffe ‘Julius’

On Friday, animal lovers received a heartbreaking update about a baby giraffe named “Julius.” The giraffe, just one month of age, did not survive – the sad news was shared via Facebook with followers of the Maryland Zoo on Friday:

 It’s hard to even write the words. Julius is gone. After weeks of effort, intensive medical treatments and round-the-clock hands on care, today the team made a decision they never wanted to have to make.

Staff at the zoo had been working their hardest to help Julius overcome his physical ailments, but their efforts weren’t enough to keep him alive. The zoo explained:

Since Julius’ birth and the beginning of his battle, we knew his chances of survival were limited, but that never stopped the team from stepping up to provide him every care and comfort, and exhausting all treatment options. If you’ve been following his journey, you know the effort has been intense, guided by collaboration between our giraffe experts and animal professionals from all over the country.

The baby giraffe’s death is impacting the zoo team, as well as Julius’ many fans – the zoo wrote:

This type of decision is one of the hardest parts of a Zoo team member’s job and a blanket of grief lays over the entire Zoo family as you read this. The support of #TeamJulius on this journey has been a true inspiration and we are comforted knowing Julius’ memory will live on with you.

Read more about Julius and the zoo staff’s efforts to keep him alive, here.

Rest in peace little one.

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Officer jumps into raging river to save a drowning dog – watch the dramatic video here.


Chimp Is Orphaned When Poacher Kills Mom, But Couple Saves The Baby By Bringing Her To Sanctuary – read the story here.

Giraffe at zoo dies after tragic incident with his father

A giraffe who lived at the Lehigh Valley Zoo died after a tragic encounter with his father. According to the Philly Voice, the six-year-old giraffe named “Ernie,” suffered a broken neck after leaning into a stall and “suffering a blow” from an older giraffe which is reported to be Ernie’s father.

Ernie’s head had been between the rails of a catwalk when he was hit – the blow fractured his vertebrae and left him unable to get free. By the time that his tragic situation was discovered, he was beyond saving.

The tragedy happened on the morning of May 28 – the report about what happened was just released on Friday. In the wake of Ernie’s tragic demise, zoo officials are warning other zoos about the potential danger of catwalks that are set-up in a similar fashion.

(Image via Pixabay free images)

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Read about the terrified dog that accidentally died while trying to escape fireworks. Please be careful with your pets this holiday weekend.

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Terrifying incident prompts warning about dogs and their collars – read more here.


UPDATE: Disgruntled zoo investors blamed for throwing live donkey to tigers as children watched in horror

Chinese zookeepers pushed a frightened live donkey into a moat at the Changzhou Zoo as prey for three hungry tigers. The panicky animal tried to hold on hugging his legs and hooves against the concrete precipice, but to no avail. According to the Daily Mail, the two men dressed in rain gear showed no compassion for the donkey and heartlessly pushed the defenseless animal down the ramp where there could be no escape.

The video, which had been released by Live Leaks on Monday went viral- garnering more than 210,000 views. It showed zoo financial investors pushing the live donkey down into the water into the tiger enclosure as zoo guests including children watching in absolute horror. The men had pulled the donkey out of a pickup truck, and within moments of the animal falling into the moat, two tigers swam in after him biting and clawing at the terrified donkey. It has been stated it took a half-hour for the donkey to die.

According to the Guardian, the irate shareholders had also planned to toss a sheep into the tiger enclosure; that is until zoo security kicked the men off the grounds. In a statement from the website, the shareholders were angry they had not been paid after having invested in the zoo nearly two years ago. Some investors had received zero financial returns on their investments and believed the zoo officials had been “conspiring to cheat small investors of their investments.”

When the courts became involved, the zoo’s assets were frozen which angered the investors even more:

“Since we can’t have any benefits, we thought why not feed them to the tigers, at least we can save on animal feed,” one of the heartless investors told media outlets.

The zoo hasn’t had any money to purchase food or needed and emergency veterinarian services, thus resulting in the deaths of two giraffes and one chimpanzee. According to the statement on the website, the investors were not only angry at not seeing any payments, but then the death of the zoo animals fired their anger even more.

The zoo has since issued a public apology promising something as horrible as this would never happen again. It is interesting, although disturbing to learn, that there are zoos in China which actually permit guests to pay to see live cows or chickens fed to tigers. The Changzhou Zoo, however does not allow live feedings.

Read the original story and watch the YouTube video here. The video is extremely disturbing and may not be suitable for all audiences.

(Photos of live donkey thrown to tigers via screenshots via YouTube)

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Read about the contagious dog flu and what all dog owners need to know.


Employee killed by tiger at zoo

A female employee was killed by a tiger on Monday at the Hamerton Zoo Park in England. According to multiple sources, the tiger killed the zookeeper during the late morning hours.

News of the tragedy was posted to the Cambridgeshire Constabulary Facebook page Monday morning:


Officers attended a serious incident at Hamerton Zoo Park, Steeple Girding, at around 11.15am today.

A tiger had entered an enclosure with a keeper. Sadly the female zoo keeper died at the scene.

At no time did the animal escape from the enclosure.
The incident is not believed to be suspicious.

Inside Edition has reported that the zookeeper’s screams could be heard by witnesses – reports indicate that other zoo employees had attempted to lure the tiger away from the woman with meat, but the efforts failed and the employee died at the scene.

The zoo is conducting an investigation into the tragic death.

The following statement was released by the zoo after the woman’s death:

Hamerton Zoo Park
Press release
We are sorry but our staff are too distressed to speak directly to the media, as one of our colleagues was killed at Hamerton Zoo Park this morning.
This appears to have been a freak accident.
A full investigation is currently underway and we hope that more details can be announced as soon as we are able.
At no point during the incident did any animals escape their enclosures, and at no point was public safety affected in any way.
All our thoughts and sympathies are with our colleagues friends and families at this dreadful time.
The park will be closed from tomorrow 30th May, and we will give more information as soon as we can.

(Stock image via Pixabay free images)

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Shameful: Elephant is starving in Venezuela zoo because they can’t afford to feed her

In the Curicuao Zoo in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas, Ruperta the elephant is starving to death. The zoo claims they cannot afford to feed her, however officials have turned away concerned citizens and animal advocates who have brought food to the 46-year-old elephant stating there may be some “bad intentions.”

According to the Daily Mail, the head of the Venezuela’s National Parks Institute Marlene Sifontes issued the following statement:

“There is food, but there is not enough variety. They are feeding her only with auyama (a type of pumpkin) and papaya, but it is not covering what she really needs.”

Ruperta’s gaunt body, with her ribs showing through her sagging skin, have been shared online.  Caracas’ El Universal reported that Ruperta  suffers from diarrhea and dehydration, but when neighbors tried to bring carrots and oranges to the elephant over the weekend, the donations were turned away by zoo officials citing sanitary issues. Days later, as the ire boiled over from well-wishers, the zoo released a statement:

“Workers are not allowed to receive donations, because while there are people with good feelings, there are others with bad intentions.”

Román Camacho, the reporter who originally broke the story, took the pictures, and has since stated in a country where hunger abounds, the crisis has become so severe that the only African elephant in all of Venezuela needs help. The elephant had been reported to have fallen, which media claims has been a result of malnutrition, Venezuelan officials insists it was just a simple slip.

Elephants can eat up to 330 pounds of food a day, and the concern remains high on social media importance.

“…this is INHUMANE and INFURIATING. spread the word to help these beautiful creatures that so much deserve a better life,” Paris Jackson, daughter of the late Michael Jackson tweeted on March 26.

Maribel Garcia, the animal rights activist who confirmed the reports on Ruperta’s health, told Fox News that the elephant, who should be weighing seven tons, currently weighs in at four tons.

“Elephants feed on carrots, grass, vegetables, fruits and bamboo leaves,” she said. “We believe that the diet of just pumpkins and the absence of her veterinarian who has treated her for more than 10 years influenced the elephant to be in that state.”

In addition to Ruperta suffering, there have been reports of the lack of basic cleaning supplies at the zoo as well as food for the animals. Unconfirmed reports state at least 50 other zoo denizens have died from starvation. A starving jaguar has been removed from public view, and a horse once on display is gone – advocates fear the animals are being killed to be used as food.

Still Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, the country’s socialist leader denies the claims the elephant is starving claiming it is all a conspiracy theory by enemies trying to demoralize the country.

(Photo of elephant is starving via Twitter and R. Camacho)

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Bear and lion the last 2 survivors of Mosul zoo almost left ravaged grounds to safety

In war torn Mosul in Iraq, the Montazah Almorour Zoo had once been home to a large number of animals, playgrounds and green spaces for tourists and residents. Tragically this week, even with the deaths of hundreds of innocent civilians,  the ISIS invasion the animals at the zoo to suffer egregious and agonizing deaths; many of the animals including a lioness, monkeys and rabbits  either starved to death or were killed by surrounding fire and shrapnel.

On Tuesday, representatives of Four Paws International headed to Mosul to rescue Lula and Simba – a bear and a lion; the only two animals still alive.  Dr. Amir Khalil, veterinarian and head of Four Paws was prepared stating:

“We have to act quickly, because Mosul is a dangerous crisis area.”

The volunteers had full support of the army who joined them on the way to the Mosul zoo and were on site as Lula and Simba were tranquilized for the trip. The animals were gently loaded on the truck and escorted out of the city. There everyone was stopped and detained as  border guards stopped them stating:

“We’re not sure who owns the animals, there was one owner and now there are many . . .” they said when asked about the military action to stop the animals at the border.

There are reports the animals have been left outside the zoo in their small travel cages. On the organization’s Facebook page, the mission leader Amir Khalil continues to negotiate for the lives of Lula and Simba. As there is a curfew in place overnight, no one has been able to check on the animals welfare or even if they have been fed.

“For us it’s clear – they have to be removed from Mosul to a safe and species appropriate place somewhere else,” stated Khalil.

(Photos of Mosul zoo bear and lion via Four Paws Facebook page)

Read previous report here.

Watch the desperate effort to save Lula and Simba. They are still not safe. Keep your fingers crossed. No doubt there are still many heroes in our world!


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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Shocking cruelty as zoo’s beloved hippo Gustavito beaten to death

In the city of San Salvador, in El Salvador, the rise of  brutal gang violence in recent years just reached one of the most vulnerable victims, when the National Zoo’s beloved hippo Gustavito was beaten to death last week. The hippopotamus died on Sunday night. Even with the staggering loss of life to humans caused by the rampant violence, the senseless death of an innocent animal, that brought pleasure to thousands as he quietly frolicked in a zoo’s pool in his enclosure, stirred public outrage.

Police in El Salvador are investigating an attack at the National Zoological Park that killed a hippopotamus named Gustavito.

Police in El Salvador are investigating an attack at the National Zoological Park that killed a hippopotamus named Gustavito.

According to AbcNews, Gustavito was born and raised in Guatemala for two years. He arrived to the El Salvador National Zoo 13 years ago. The hippopotamus suffered “multiple blows on different parts of his body” from “blunt and sharp objects” in Tuesday’s attack, the Ministry of Culture said in a statement. Two days after the attack, the staff noticed Gustavito had been spending most of his time under water in his enclosure and had stopped eating. When examined, veterinarians discovered the hippo suffered from “bruises, lacerations on the head and body, cramps and abdominal pain.” A necropsy will be performed to determine the exact cause of the animal’s death.

And that wasn’t all. Vladen Henriquez, the zoo director, stated the hippo had injuries to his feet, wounds on his cheek which were indicative of having been attacked with an ice pick and injuries inside of his mouth most likely inflicted as Gustavito tried desperately to defend himself. Pieces of metal and rocks were found in his enclosure.

Salvadorans have been sending their sympathies through social media and have left flowers at the zoo’s gate. An investigation continues. Rest in peace Gustavito. (Photos of hippo courtesy of El Salvador’s Cultural Ministry)

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