Ohio Animals Massacre
Of all the animals in the world that are classified as ‘endangered’, the Bengal tiger is one of the most recognized species at risk of extinction. The WWF have been long campaigning for donations to help bring an array of animals back from extinction through conservation efforts. The importance of protecting rare and endangered animals helps in preserving the earth’s biodiversity and was apparently the main reason for the WWF’s establishment back in 1961.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) estimates their population to be fewer than 2,500, so when the news emerged of more than 50 wild exotic animals roaming the streets in Muskingum County, Ohio after being set free, the operation that led to containing the situation was truly shocking.
Police on Wednesday were reported to have killed 48 wild animals, after owner Terry Thompson set them free before killing himself reportedly due to being in debt. Among the dead were 18 bengal tigers, 17 lions, a baboon and a wolf. Granted that protecting the locals was a priority, you have to wonder, was killing all of those wild animals necessary?
Jack Hanna who was the former director of Columbus Zoo where six of the animals were taken, said: “I can understand people’s concern. They are calling me from England, all over Canada, all over the world asking me why we had to kill the animals.”
“Look at these homes right here, within a mile of this place. Do you want loss of human life? We can’t have that. It is a terrible thing, like I told somebody it is like Noah’s Ark wrecking out here,” he stated.
I’m all for ensuring locals are safe, but I’m even more conscious of the fact that some of these animals may not be here in 20 years time because of the very same conflicts they face with humans.
The fact that they captured six animals doesn’t justify killing 48 others. Three leopards were captured, which just makes you wonder how much did they really try to exercise this approach to all the other wild cats?
We strongly believe that the human race are the most intelligent creatures on our planet, being able to produce, design and manufacture pretty much anything they want. We tend to use logic rather than instinct, which leads me to wonder why our logic didn’t prompt police in Ohio to use tranquilisers.
The Guardian reported that police has said they ‘had to shoot to kill because they did not want animals shot by tranquilisers regaining consciousness and escaping in the dark.’
In another Guardian article, the county sheriff Matt Lutz defended the shootings saying that police had just an hour or so before it got dark on Tuesday, and that they were not carrying tranquiliser darts, which confuses other reports I fail to believe that the police department were unaware of this exotic animal farm in their county. Surely they would be prepared with tranquilisers if something like this was to happen?
This horrendous event should leave Ohio state with some food for thought. Keeping wildlife in captivity strips them of any natural instincts they have to roam freely and behave like any other of their kind. Being confined to a limited amount of space can have serious psychological effects that can drive them insane – much like humans. We wouldn’t be okay with this happening to one of our own so it really concerns me that people don’t extend this empathy to the other species we share our world with.
People venture into the wild, thinking that it’s open and free to roam, when in actual fact they’re stepping on land that these animals inhabit. They destroy natural habitats, displace and even poach the wildlife there for reasons that aren’t even comprehendible.
We keep them in captivity with insufficient space that affects them mentally and at the same time we feel we have the right to step on to their territories and throw our weight around – How do these animals benefit at all?
Given that the police in Ohio had to react quickly is understandable, but maybe there should have been stronger precautions in place like laws making it illegal to keep exotic wildlife so close to civilians.
One can hope that the massacre of these animals – some highly endangered – will prompt America to rethink their laws. They’ve been lucky that there was no loss of human life, but unless changes are made, they may not be able to guarantee that next time. Will it be only then that they make the obvious changes that are needed?