Richard Mileski, 60 according to U.S. sources but 70 according to Tulum Civil Defense official Aberto Canto, was fatally stomped by a camel on October 13, 2014 at the Tulum Monkey Sanctuary in Yucatan, Mexico.
“One version,” Canto told media, “is that Mileski would always give the camel a Coca Cola to drink, and apparently, that day he didn’t give the camel the Coca Cola. The camel kicked and bit him practically to death, and when he was almost dead, he sat on him.”
Originally from Chicago, Mileski died at the scene. “Following the incident,” reported Daily Mail correspondent Sophie Jane Evans, “the dromedary, a type of camel predominantly from the Middle East and North Africa, was taken away by Mexico’s federal agency of environmental protection Profepa.”
Located near the Mayan ruin site of Cabo and the cities of Cancun and Playa Del Carmen, the Tulum Monkey Sanctuary is a three-acre enclosure within Mileski’s 61-acre ranch. Mileski set the sanctuary area aside for spider monkeys circa 2000, developed it as an eco-tourism attraction, and opened it to guided tours in late 2012, described by the web site Destination Tulum was “a sprawling jungle space full of plants, wildlife and cenotes,” which are “sinkholes of collapsed limestone that provide access to the underground freshwater river system that runs underneath the Yucatan Peninsula.”
Mileski hoped to buy a 1,400 acre ranch nearby, Destination Tulum said, “that will allow for rehabilitated spider monkeys to be reintroduced into the wild far from the rapidly developing coastal area,” and “would offer more space for further rescue projects for other animals including dogs. cats, pigs and horses. There are also plans,” Destination Tulum added, “to offer lodging in a hotel or hostel that will be built in the area.”
What will become of these plans after Mileski’s death is uncertain.
The second exotic animal sanctuary founder to be killed by his own animals in less than a month, Mileski died 28 days after an elephant crushed James Laurita, DVM, at Hope Elephants in Hope, Maine. Hope Elephants had raised funds for months in 2012 to bring two former Carson & Barnes Circus elephants to Maine, from the Endangered Ark Foundation in Hugo, Oklahoma, but returned both elephants to the Hugo facility within a week of Laurita’s death.
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