Woman bitten by panther at Florida facility

Author: Katrina Elsken; Okeechobee News
Publish Date: December 4, 2009
Word Count: 638
Document ID: 12C65472B015D850

A local woman was bitten by a Florida panther at Sue Arnold’s Wildlife Center on Monday.

“We believe the incident was the result of keeper error,” said Florida Wildlife Commission spokesperson Gabriella Ferrara.

She explained that the woman-who had been volunteering at the shelter for three years-violated the facility’s written procedures by entering the cage.

She said Sue Arnold was not on the property at the time of the incident.



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Fire at Florida exotic wild animal company

Fire at Ex Playboy Model’s Miami Cougar Den

Lemurs, snakes dead at exotic wildlife company

Updated 7:27 AM EST, Thu, Dec 3, 2009

Several animals are dead after a fire ripped through a controversial Southwest Miami-Dade exotic wildlife company this morning.

No humans appear to have been hurt but at least two lemurs and several snakes and parrots perished after the fire tore through Wild Animal World at 10495 SW 60 St. in Kendall.

There was no word on what caused the fire, which was quickly put out by Miami-Dade firefighters, though there had been reports of an explosion on the property.

Wild Animal World is owned by Corinne Oltz, a former Hooters girl and Playboy model who’s seen her share of controversy since taking over the business over a decade ago.

Oltz, 40, exhibits her exotic animals — which also include cougars, leopards and other large cats — at schools, parties and other gatherings, and has been criticized for her brazen use of the animals.

In 1999, Oltz was convicted of not properly caging a cat after one of the beasts escaped from her Miami house and scared the bejesus out of her neighbors. A year earlier, one of her cougars attacked a 5-year-old girl at a birthday party in Coral Gables.

In 2001, one of her leopards attacked and nearly killed a 7-year-old boy at a company picnic, and Oltz was banned from showing leopards.

Perhaps the worst attack came in 2006, when a 4-year-old girl was mauled by a cougar at a birthday party. Oltz was charged with culpable negligence and keeping wildlife in unsafe conditions after the 62-pound cougar put the kid’s face in her mouth and nearly ripped her ear off.

First Published: Dec 2, 2009 1:47 PM EST



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South Africans look into illegal lion breeding

afrol News, 27 November – The illegal captive breeding and holding of lions on private farms is becoming a problem in South Africa. Under the protest of wildlife authorities and environmental groups, a growing number of lions are bred in captivity to be exposed to “canned hunting” in South Africa and abroad.

Only today, six lions arrived at a wildlife sanctuary for safekeeping after officials of the Department of Finance & Economic Development (Branch Environmental Affairs) along with the South African Police Services, (Organised Crime Unit), confiscated them from a privately owned game farm in the Limpopo Province. Warrants to seize, confiscate and remove the lions were issued by a local magistrate.

A spokesperson for the Department said that an application for a permit to import, hold and breed the lions in Limpopo Province had been declined. Despite the department’s refusal the applicant went ahead and brought the lions into the Limpopo Province from the Free State, where he has already establish another lion breeding project.

The farmer will now be charged for the illegal import, holding and breeding of lions and could face a fine of up to rand 15 000.00 per animal, if found guilty by a court of law. The lions – a black maned male, two adult females and three cubs – meanwhile have settled down well and will remain at the sanctuary until the legal process will determine their fate.

In the Limpopo Province in the north-eastern part of South Africa, there are quite a few lions being held in captive breeding projects illegally, activists say. The Limpopo Department of Finance says it will proceed to charge individuals concerned.

A new holding facility for large predators has even been constructed and this is to allow the Department to “more effectively remove illegally held animals and charge the offenders.” A spokesperson said that “the irresponsible disregard for conservation laws will not be tolerated any longer” and that his department is ready to step up their law enforcement efforts.

One of the lionesses captured today was reported to be pregnant and it was established that both the adult females had already given birth to cubs, which had been removed to be hand raised. The farm manager’s wife claimed that neither of the lionesses could produce milk and they had no choice, but to remove the cubs for hand rearing.

A spokesperson for the sanctuary questioned this and strongly condemned the practise of lion breeding where very small cubs are removed off their mothers soon after birth and said that it is common practise amongst lion breeders to remove cubs from their mother to allow the female to come into oestrus sooner so that she can produce more cubs.

Lions are being bred at larger numbers in South Africa as the country increasingly becomes a destination for wildlife tourists. In addition to South Africa’s many world famous national parks, the country also has a multitude of private parks and wildlife reserves, many of which offer the paying tourist hunting opportunities. Lion hunting remains the ultimate experience for many.

Thus, an industry of “canned hunting” has grown in South Africa, parallel to trends in other wildlife and hunting destinations. A so-called “canned hunt” takes place on a fenced piece of private property where a hunter can pay a fee to shoot a captive animal, which has been raised in captivity.

In South Africa, private “game parks” have specialised on the canned hunting of lions and rhinoceroses – the two animals fetching the highest “hunting” fees worldwide. Some shooting preserves charge up to US$ 20,000 for a lion or a rhinoceros.

Although canned hunting is a “promising industry”, South African wildlife and tourism authorities have found this practice difficult to combine with the country’s otherwise positive image. Already in 1997, the international Cooke Report exposed unethical lion hunting practises in South Africa and authorities promised to react.

Since that, however, various animals’ rights and welfare groups have slammed the South African government’s lack of action to stop the practise of breeding lions in captivity to supply a growing demand from trophy hunters. However a new policy governing the utilization and management of large predators has recently been government gazetted.

Louise Joubert of the SanWild Wildlife Trust comments that despite pressure by international animals’ welfare groups that have cashed in on the canned lion hunting industry the problem remains to be solved by the South African authorities. She welcomed this move and said that “it is time that the blatant disregard for conservation laws in South Africa is dealt with decisively and immediately.”

By staff writers



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Pallas cat, other animal deaths prompt Topeka Zoo criticism

Animal deaths prompt criticism of Topeka Zoo

By Associated Press
Posted on Fri, Oct. 23, 2009

TOPEKA — Two groups investigating the deaths of several animals at the Topeka Zoo criticized zoo officials for lax veterinary care and poor record-keeping.

A Sept. 28 inspection report cited the zoo for several noncompliance issues related to the death of seven animals from January 2007 through July 2008. That investigation was followed an August report by the USDA that cited the zoo for several noncompliance issues.

Among other problems, investigators found that two animals died after being infested with maggots.

Also Wednesday, a separate review by Kansas State University veterinarians discussed some of the animal deaths including the 2006 death of a hippopotamus, which was left in 108-degree water.

Zoo director Mike Coker said the facility implemented new policies on animal care record-keeping that he thinks will alleviate problems noted by the USDA.

“It’s important to have as complete a picture as possible,” he said. “We’re just reminding our folks to be more detailed, document everything.”

The two critical reports coming so soon after the USDA report in August prompted City Council member John Alcala to question the competence of zoo officials.

“There are serious issues happening out there, and they need to be addressed,” he said. “Things are getting let go.”

The USDA inspection on Sept. 28 found noncompliance related to the deaths of seven animals — a Pallas cat, a rabbit, an antelope, a mouse deer and three bats — from January 2007 through July 2008.

The Pallas cat died in January 2008 after being ill for several days. A necropsy found it had died from a maggot infestation. The report noted the lack of treatment.

“Medical records do not indicate that the animal was assessed by a veterinarian or that any veterinary care was provided for this animal,” the report reads.

Coker said the animal care staff followed procedures by recording the cat’s declining health. But when the information was given to a veterinarian, no diagnosis was made. Coker said he wasn’t sure why.

The report found that many of the animals’ death were not properly documented.

Coker said he has instructed the zoo staff to keep more detailed reports of animal care. He is also writing weekly reports to the USDA detailing issues involving the animals and zoo activities.



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1959 article: Lion went to Pa. car wash after wrecking owner’s apartment

Flashback Lancaster
This week in Lancaster County history

Intelligencer Journal
Lancaster New Era

Nov 30, 2009 00:00 EST

Summaries of local news stories from the pages of the Intelligencer Journal and Lancaster New Era appear in this space each Monday. They are researched and compiled by staff member Tim Buckwalter. Full versions are available on microfilm at the Lancaster County Library, 125 N. Duke St….

LION KING: Lawrence A. Benedict, a Lancaster contractor, builder and car-wash operator, agreed to provide a new home for “George,” a lion that was being housed temporarily at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Oklahoma City, Okla., after wrecking the apartment of its private owner. “All my life I have loved animals,” Benedict said, “and I have always wanted a lion.” Benedict was building a cage for George and planned to place the cage at his car wash, at 245 Park Ave., in time for George’s arrival in Lancaster by train. The zoo’s director, Dr. Warren Thomas, said he liked Benedict’s offer better than the others he received. “Over the telephone he seemed to be the kind of a man who wouldn’t eat the lion and the lion wouldn’t eat him,” Thomas said. Lancaster’s chief health inspector said there was nothing in city health regulations to ban a lion. (Nov. 30, 1959) (Note: George arrived in Lancaster and Benedict kept him caged at the car wash. The lion died of pneumonia in 1968. Benedict died in 1983.)



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