If you needed yet another reason to boycott the zoo, here you go.
A white rhino was shot dead in Florida only a day after his arrival. The large mammal, who was male, attempted to escape his enclosure, and because he was reportedly "acting aggressive," staff chased him down with high-powered rifles. They controversially opened fire and took his life, before loading him into a trailer to bury him with other dead safari animals.
“The rhino was hit several times (by gunshots) but was still able to exit the cypress stand and head east,” the report stated, as per WFLA. “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.”
“For more than 12 years, Wild Florida’s mission has been to provide an unforgettable Everglades experience that promotes a connection with animals while inspiring education and conservation," the park also stated per WFLA. "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."
What to know about the white Rhino incident at Wild Florida safari park:
An incident that took place in September 2022 at a Florida zoo has only just come to light — and it's highly disturbing.
Wild Florida safari park, according to The Miami Herald, has an attraction called "the wild side of Florida," which previously housed a 2,000-pound white rhino. However, his stay was quite short. A day after arriving, he attempted to escape the park's perimeter fence, and as a result, was shot 15 times.
Though the incident took place last year, the park just acknowledged it on Jan. 30, via Facebook.
“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,” the post read. “In September 2022, a new rhino began to pose an imminent danger to the park at large, and... we made the difficult decision to humanely euthanize the animal.”
Though the safari was closed off at the time, officials claimed he was acting aggressive. However, others felt differently.
According to WESH, an anonymous complaint was reportedly filed to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission after the shooting, calling it "animal abuse" and "unnecessary." Regardless, though, forcing a wild, endangered creature into such an attraction is abuse from the get-go.
How many white rhinos are left in the world?
Unfortunately, white rhinos are quickly dying out.
There are two varieties — Northern and Southern — and Northern white rhinos are nearly extinct, with only two live females remaining. In terms of Southern white rhinos, there are about 20,000 left. However, populations plummeted by 12 percent between 2012 and 2017 alone, which is not a good sign.
There are efforts being made to save these gorgeous creatures, but it goes without saying putting them in zoos and other attractions certainly won't help their numbers.