A tourist attraction named as “wild side of florida” was forced to pursue and kill a newly acquired white rhino after the animal escaped custody and threatened to breach the park’s perimeter fence, state officials say.
Wild Florida Safari Park staff shot a 2,000-pound male rhinoceros 15 times with high-powered rifles to bring it down, according to a report by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The park is located about 60 miles south of Orlando, along Cypress Lake.
The incident happened on September 19, but the park is public recognition of the fate of the rhinoceros came in a Facebook post on January 30.
“Unfortunately, sometimes we are faced with unforeseen situations and circumstances that require an immediate response to ensure the continued safety of visitors, staff, neighbors and, most importantly, the animals in our care,” park officials wrote.
“In September 2022, a new rhino posed an imminent danger to the park as a whole and … we made the difficult decision to humanely euthanize the animal.”
Wild Florida Safari Park was closed to the public during the incident, officials said.
Florida Fish and Wildlife officials learned of the shooting from an anonymous tip received on Sept. 19, the report said.
The rhino had been brought to Wild Florida a day earlier and immediately began “behaving aggressively and attempting to climb over the sluice gate,” according to FWC officials.
“The rhino breached the barriers of the quarantine area and made its way to the main (rhino) enclosure,” according to the FWC. “The next morning, the rhinoceros began to behave wildly again and … continued to test the fence until it was able to break through. As soon as this happened, they made the decision to kill the rhino, fearing that it would knock down the perimeter fence and escape from the park.”
By then, the rhinoceros hid in a cypress stand, where it disappeared from view for a few minutes, the report said.
“The rhino was hit multiple times (by gunshots) but was still able to get out of the cypress stand,” the state reported. “He got to the perimeter fence (and) they followed and kept shooting at him. … After he had followed and shot at him for approximately 1/3 of a mile, the rhino fell and died.”
The researchers say the documents state that the rhino “was in good health” and had been trained to handle the crates several weeks ago.
No reason was given for his aggressive behavior. The park has not reported any injuries to employees.
Wild Florida announced in 2018 the creation of a “passage safari park on 75 acres of land” where “exotic animals” will live.
A 2,000-kilogram white rhino has died at a natural attraction in Florida
Source link A 2,000-kilogram white rhino has died at a natural attraction in Florida