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With a curved carapace, angry-looking eyes and a spiky tail, horseshoe crabs look like nature’s armored tanks, crawling in the sand at the shore.

Children in rural Hendry County are training wild horses, making them suitable for adoption. They’re challenged to discipline 12 mustangs from Nevada in 100 days. But since Gov. Rick Scott just vetoed state funding for their club, the group predicts a future financial struggle. Let's go to the ranch in LaBelle where the kids are taming these wild animals. 

What Happens To Ringling's Circus Animals Now?

May 23, 2017

Now that “The Greatest Show on Earth” is over, animal activists want to know what’s going to happen to the circus animals. 16 tigers, six camels, four horses, two kangaroos and two snakes.

 

Primate Products, a primate breeding facility in Hendry County, was recently inspected by the United States Department of Agriculture.

The inspection comes in the wake of undercover photos and videos taken at the company’s facility.

A People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals or PETA “witness” worked at Primate Products for eight months until late May.

Animal Cruelty Training Held For Law Enforcement Officers

Jul 9, 2014
http://www.humanesociety.org/

An organization that advocates animal rights is hosting a free training today for Tampa area law enforcement on animal cruelty and staged animal fights investigations.

"This training is providing local enforcement the tools to identify and to prevent animal cruelty," said Kate McFall, Florida State Director of The Humane Society of the United States.

Associated Press

SeaWorld has filed a complaint alleging that an Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigator who probed a SeaWorld trainer’s death engaged in unethical conduct by fraternizing with makers of a documentary critical of the park.

The six-page complaint, sent to the Labor Department on Thursday, states that SeaWorld believes that OSHA investigator Lara Padgett “violated the Standards of Ethical Conduct for government employees ... as well as other requirements of federal law.”

WUSF 89.7 News

As controversy continues to swirl over animal treatment at SeaWorld's parks, including its Orlando location, the backlash has spread to its sibling park, Busch Gardens in Tampa.

The Tampa Tribune reports the Beach Boys and Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo will not be taking part in the park's Bands, Brew & BBQ concert series.

Florida WIldlife Commission

In 2013, llamas and bears and birds were in the Bay area headlines. Now, just a few days into 2014, we can add Savannah the lion to the list of animal newsmakers.

Tampa Tribune

Ian Hallett served as director of Hillsborough County's Animal Services for only 18 months, but in that short time, he drew enough criticism that he's now lost that position. Hallett has been replaced on a temporary basis by Code Enforcement Director Dexter Barge.

Dolphins Recognize The Calls Of Long-Lost Friends

Aug 8, 2013

Scientists have known for years that dolphins recognize each other by the sound of each animal's signature whistle. But it wasn't known for just how long dolphins could remember these whistle calls.

The individually specific whistle that each dolphin generates before its first birthday "for them functions like a name," says Jason Bruck, who studies animal behavior at the Institute for Mind and Biology at the University of Chicago.

Lowry Park Zoo

And now for some gratuitous baby animal photos.

This morning, Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo released pictures of its newest addition: an African elephant calf, born July 29. The yet-to-be-named female is the first known African elephant calf born in 2013 in North America and the third in the zoo's 25-year history.

She joins a herd of four other African elephants, all females, in the zoo's savannah area.

All together now: Awww...

Parker Manatee Aquarium

Some pretty famous dudes were born in 1948: Rockers Steven Tyler and Ozzy Osbourne, actor Samuel L. Jackson, soon-to-be-grandpa Prince Charles...

But not even His Royal Majesty can claim to be the official mascot of Manatee County. That honor belongs to another gent who was born in 1948: Snooty the Manatee.

Cases of Disoriented Nesting Turtles on the Rise

Jul 15, 2013
morguefile.com

It's the middle of turtle nesting season, as adult turtles are coming ashore to lay their eggs. But Sarasota and Manatee beaches are seeing a high number of turtles getting lost.

What is it about dolphins? They have very, very big brains, and that makes we humans, whose brains are nothing to sniff at, nervous. We don't know what to make of them.

The latest example: On May 17 in India, the Ministry of Environment and Forests issued an order to all Indian states banning dolphin amusement parks. No leaping out of pools to catch balls, no jumping through hoops. Forcing dolphins to entertain humans, the ministry said, was morally unacceptable.

Tampa Fire Rescue

We've probably all heard about a cat up a tree needing to be rescued by firemen, but a feline in Tampa decided to take that story in a whole new direction after getting trapped inside a wall at the Twiggs Street Parking Garage Thursday.

The City of Tampa tweeted out a picture of the confined kitten earlier Thursday with a note saying "Emergency! Tampa PD is working on getting a cat out of a wall at the Twiggs St Garage." Later messages updating the rescue included the tag #WallKitty.

Pasco County Sheriff's Office

The kangaroo who was captured in Pasco County last weekend died shortly afterwards, and officials say the animal's owner has been charged with a misdemeanor - not related to the death, but its escape.

On Friday, Pasco County Sheriff's officials said that a necropsy would be conducted on the kangaroo, but the Tampa Bay Times reports that didn't end up happening.

AP Photo/Leon County Sheriff's Office

We told you earlier about the weekend capture of a llama on the lam. Now the furry fugitive may become a YouTube sensation.

The folks at TomoNews US, which creates reenactments of news stories in the style of Taiwanese animation, have given "Scooter" the llama the digital treatment.

Pasco County Sheriff's Office

Floridians know there's no shortage of wildlife in the Sunshine State, but kangaroos and llamas?

While Pasco Sheriff's deputies were capturing a kangaroo that was on the loose in Lacoochee, deputies in Tallahassee had to use a taser gun to re-capture a llama that had escaped his pen.

dreamstime.com

The Hillsborough County Commissioners have given the OK for the Animal Services department to go ahead with their trap-neuter-release (or TNR) program for feral cats.

Larry Richardson / fws.gov

When the the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service quietly turned over its authority to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission last year, Florida became the only state with the power to green-light activities that harm its most vulnerable species without federal review.

University of Florida

If Florida is God’s waiting room, then Polk County must be the alcove reserved for his longtime patients.

Researchers have used 5-million-year-old fossils found in Polk County phosphate mines to identify a new genus and species of extinct saber-toothed cat.

Scientists had previously thought the animal's ancestors originated in the Old World and migrated to this side of the pond. But the latest findings, based on fossil acquisitions from the past three decades, make one thing clear: Just like Super Bowl champ Ray Lewis and former Mouseketeer Lindsey Alley, the new species  hails from closer to Polk County.

This is a picture of Tony Little:

And now, so is this:

Before you call your optometrist, allow us to explain.

The Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C., recently celebrated the birth of an extremely rare dama gazelle. The creature is considered a critically endangered specias; only a few hundred of the creatures live in the wild of Chad, Niger and Mali. So this was a big deal.

And here's where things get really interesting, as demonstrated by this expert from a press release we received:

7 Dogs Recovered From Fighting Ring in Seffner

Nov 28, 2012
BayNews9

Officials say they walked by dog remains and chains in a remote area in Seffner where they suspect more than a hundred dogs have fought over a 20 year period.