Last week there was an awful situation near Zanesville, Ohio.
There was a lot of media coverage, but in case you haven't heard about it yet, I'll recap.
Muskingum County Animal Farm owner Terry Thompson, who kept a large number of exotic animals on his property, including lions, tigers, bears, leopards, and monkeys, let more than 50 of the animals out of their cages Wednesday before killing himself.
The sheriffs office responded and ended up shooting and killing 48 of the animals, including 18 Bengal tigers (which are endangered), 17 lions, six black bears, two grizzly bears, a baboon, a wolf and three mountain lions.
Thanks to the efforts of the Columbus Zoo, six of the released animals were captured and taken back to the zoo. The animals taken back to the zoo included three leopards, one bear and two macaque monkeys. They are currently being housed at the zoo and their final placement will be decided by the sheriff of Zainesville.
When this news first broke, I was upset at the law enforcement officers who shot and killed all of those animals. I wondered how they could be so cold and heartless.
But then I was set straight on what happened and why, by none other than famous animal lover and Columbus Zoo Director Emeritus Jack Hanna.
Hanna explained during a press conference that the officers took no pleasure in killing those animals. He said it's been tough on the deputies and they have to go home and explain to their families what happened. And he explained if they hadn't killed the animals, then we could be mourning the lives of people instead. Though it is a tragic loss, I now understand the reasoning behind the decision and why it was necessary.
The real issue at hand is not about the sheriff, it's that Terry Thompson was able to own so many wild, exotic animals without any regulation. The regulations on owning exotic animals are far too lax in many states and at the federal level.
A person should definitely not be able to own an endangered species. This is not to say that those tigers could have been released back into the wild — many animals in captivity will never be capable of living in the wild again, for many reasons.
But we need to stop taking wild animals like tigers out of the wild in the first place.
The way to stop the practice of removing wild animals from the wild includes educating people on the problems associated with owning wild animals as pets and making it more difficult to own wild animals in the first place. People who love animals, and I mean really love animals, don't try to possess wild animals, because they understand those animals are going to be much happier and healthier if they are in the wild.
Have an animal-friendly Halloween
Halloween is one week away, so make sure you stock up on plenty of candy, but make sure the candy does not contain palm oil. Palm oil is an oil used in many chocolate candies, and is often grown on plantations in the middle of natural habitats containing orangutans, elephants, tigers and rhinos. These plantations split apart groups of animals and threaten their survival. For more information about palm oil or to view a list of candies containing sustainable palm oil that doesn’t harm animals’ livelihood, visit bit.ly/oiycvu.
Amanda’s Animal Fact of the Week
A hungry tiger can eat as much as 60 pounds in one night, though they usually eat less.