When Zach Cooney said, “Look, another red-tailed hawk” we were hoping for another shot at photographing one we’d seen earlier. But this time what landed just across the canal was a barred owl, he looked over at us, his eyes almost asking “who?”.
We were at the Tosohatchee WMA, a 30k acre plus recreation area located on the St. Johns River. I had the opportunity to accompany Morgan & Zach Cooney and their father Mike, of Cooney Wildlife Adventures, on this environmentally sensitive piece of land between Orlando and Cape Canaveral.
They’re all very familiar with this area as Morgan & Zach are volunteers with many conservation groups throughout Florida and the world, more on that later. We saw more alligators than we could count. Plus blue herons, white egrets, white ibis and other wildlife.
Rhino Anti-Poaching & Conservation Efforts
The Cooney brothers are preparing for an adventure of a lifetime in South Africa defending rhinos from poaching. They’ll be onsite four months working alongside armed anti-poaching special forces units in what can only be called, a war to save the rhino form extension.
The Cooney’s are passionate about wildlife and habitat conservation and their knowledge of the subject is recognized in their many public awareness speaking engagements.
Another reason we spent the day at Tosohatchee, was to work on our wilderness survival skills. I used to teach wilderness survival techniques to Boy Scouts during my days as a scoutmaster. We reviewed basic overnight survival, first aid, fire and shelter building as well as our wilderness survival kits.
Even though they’re both Brevard County Lifeguards and knew more about first aid than I ever will, I was able to introduce them to my new favorite product, QuickClot. That was a good thing because eventually the training devolved into guys chopping and playing with knives and tomahawks.
If you’re interested in helping Morgan & Zach in their quest to save the rhino, view their website at cooneywildlifeadventures.com.
Originally Published on May 19th, 2012