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On Sunday, the Sun Sentinel newspaper published an opinion piece by ARFF’s Communications Director Don Anthony about the arrival of two otters at Seminole Okalee Indian Village, a depressing zoo located next to the Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood.

Don’s editorial criticized the zoo’s claims that the otter exhibit will educate people about environmental conservation. “Conservation means saving animals and saving the natural habitat in which they live,” Don wrote. “Purchasing otters that were purposely bred in captivity and shipped a thousand miles to this facility for the sake of tourism is not conservation.”

The editorial also mentioned the many complaints that ARFF has received about a solitary black bear who is on exhibit in a dark, barren enclosure and about abusive alligator wrestling shows held at the zoo.

The two otters that arrived last month, from a private breeder in California, were not the first otters to call the Okalee Indian Village home. As recently as December 2008, the zoo had 5 otters, as well as an additional black bear and one brown bear. We don’t know what happened to these animals. Click here to view video ARFF took in 2008 of raccoons and a bear exhibiting stereotypic behavior.

If you visit the Hard Rock casino, please do not purchase a ticket to enter the Okalee Indian Village. Write to the Seminole Tribe of Florida and ask them to stop adding new animals to its zoo, and to find a more suitable home for the solitary bear. Contact:

Seminole Okalee Indian Village
E-mail: okaleevillage@semtribe.com

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