Thursday, October 20, 2011
|Adult male baboon in the wild, on the move in Tanzania.|
photo by Jonathan Schechter Oct, 2009
Fact one: The science of animal behavior and ecology is complex, but one fact remains clear:
Alpha nocturnal predators - the great cats (tigers, lions, ) - are skilled hunters and
deserve their reputation as man-eaters in the jungles of history and our minds. Grizzly bears
take a human being out in a single bite and baboons with an attitude think
nothing of attacking. Wolves and cheetahs are not house pets.
Fact two: An ex-con with an attitude should not be housing 48 of these great animals.
In their native habitats they were wildlife. In Ohio where the shootings occured they were
exotics, and by all accounts exotics on the move and dispersing quickly into the
surrounding countryside of Ohio.
The first 911 call to reach Zanesville Ohio told of a bear and lions chasing a horse in a pasture.
When law enforcement rolled up to the 73 acre property of Terry Thompson they found all
gates open and the great predators and baboons and monkeys on the loose.
His perverted version of Noah's ark had hit a rock, sank and came to tragic end. Decisions had to
be made quickly. Thomson lay dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. A corners's
report later confirmed a big cat - most likely a Bengal tiger - bit his head after his death.
In a perfect world a team of 50 skilled veterinarians with 50 rifles with tranquilizer darts and nightscope capability might have been deployed to capture the animals. (A few were captured)
But even that attempt would have been utter foolishness and pose extreme risks to humans.
If a human encountered one of the exotics in their tainted taste of freedom they would most
likely have ran, and running from a predator kicks in a predatory reponse of chase and kill.
I am saddened that lack laws and misguided actions by a few allowed such a collection of
beautiful and endangered creatures to be in private hands, but I am angry that more than few
are faulting the sheriffs deputies and the State police for their quick and effective lethal response.
That act of issuing the Shoot To Kill order took courage, but it would have been cowardly to
do anything else other than that.
Ohio politicians are now reviewing their laws.
Just where does one shop for a Bengal tiger?
The aftermath (photo from Internet - authenticated)