Why kill the tiger?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Chat' started by johnmartin, May 27, 2009.

  1. johnmartin

    johnmartin Active Member

    Anyone else read the story about the zookeeper mauled to death in NZ by a rare white tiger.


    Tragic for him and his family but what struck me was that they killed the tiger.


    This beautiful creature is a) rare and b) a WILD animal, albeit caged.

    What was the point in killing it. Surely it was only doing what tigers and other large predators have done for thousands of years. Its called instinct. Surely questions should have first been asked about the security policies of the zoo, which has a bad safety record anyway with several other recent incidents. If we, as humans, are going to keep wild animals in captivity then we shouldn't blame them if a tragedy such as this happens.
  2. Aurora771

    Aurora771 Member

    I'm pretty sure parents would think twice before going to a zoo that has a tiger that killed a person. Or maybe the press got hold of the story and the locals wanted something done about it? Doesn't give the zoo that good a reputation for some people.

    However, if that was the case I don't see why they couldn't have sent the tiger to a nature reserve or safari park instead. It's sad to think that killing it was the only solution they thought was right.
  3. johnmartin

    johnmartin Active Member

    I would think twice about taking my kids to a zoo which couldn't look after the safety of its own staff.
  4. johnmartin

    johnmartin Active Member

    I should add I have nothing against zoos in general, I am in fact a member of Edinburgh Zoo. Most zoos do invalauble conservation work and are active in support of projects in the animals native surroundings as well as in captivity.
  5. Aurora771

    Aurora771 Member

    Yes, but you'd be more concerned about the safety of your kids. The zoo keepers should be trained to deal with wild animals, it is after all their profession. However, accidents happen and sadly this was the consequence.
  6. John Brooks

    John Brooks Well-Known Member

    I read once that when a wild animal (eg: lion or tiger) tastes human blood, they become even more aggresive and dangerous and there is no alternative. This may well have been the reason they had to put the tiger down. That said, I agree that it sounds as though the safety policy at this zoo leaves much to be desired.
  7. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    I believe that's true - essentially the animals realise that their keepers can be viewed as prey (as opposed to some sort of "provider") and the keepers' jobs become virtually impossible. This is the same reason that maneaters are pursued so vigorously in the wild - once they realise how easy it is to catch and kill a human compared to, say, a wildebeest, they lose interest in more "traditional" prey - so the tiger in question couldn't have been released into the wild, or sent to a safari park, without posing a further risk to humans. Whether you think that's a reasonable judgement to make I suppose depends on quite how near you would have to live to the cat in question.

    None of which defends in any way what appears to be an appalling lapse in health & safety management at the zoo in question.
  8. Andrew Norman

    Andrew Norman Member

    As far as I can tell from the news clippings there's nothing to say that the tiger tried to eat the keeper... He was mauled, which suggests that the animal was familiar with the keeper and jumped on him (in greeting) knocked him to the floor and then "played" with him. Think of a kitten with a ball of wool.
    I have been lucky enough to work closely with tigers and (far from being an expert) suggest that this is the more likely scenario.
    The zoo in question has a policy of keepers working inside the enclosure with the tigers, something which is always very risky and there is no question of danger to the public.
    Entering a wild animals home is a risky business and animals get frightened which is why they may attack.
    If you left an enclosure gate open the tiger would be unlikely to come out because it would be frightened to leave it's territory especially whilst there are unfamiliar people about.
    I have always understood that tigers do not like the taste of human flesh (it being rather salty) and "Maneaters" tend to occur in areas like Bengal where the water in which they bathe is also salty or when a tiger gets injured and is desperate for food. A well fed and cared for zoo tiger is unlikely to kill a human for food (or pleasure - it's only humans who derive pleasure from killing animals).
    As far a why the tiger was killed - maybe it was the only way to try and save the keeper - but a sad end for a beautiful creature.
  9. I spent twenty five years on different circuses. I lost a good friend several years ago to a tiger that he had raised, and will state that there is no single reason that an animal attacks a human. It could be anything such as a quick movement that the animal deems as threatening, to getting between an animal and it's food, or a companion. I will respectfully disagree that animals will not kill or injure another animal for entertainment. Watch a cat with a bird, or a mouse. Almost all animals will mistreat a lesser, or weaker animal.
  10. Andrew Norman

    Andrew Norman Member

    Yes an animal will kill a lesser/weaker animal but that is instinct but I do not believe it is pleasure (again I do claim to be an expert)... (Some) Humans set out to kill for no other purpose than to enjoy the killing of another creature.
    Even a tiger raised in human care can attack it's protector - just as a domestic cat or dog can bite it's owner although, of course, the consequences are far greater.

    In response to the original question "Why kill the Tiger?" I agree that it was a sad end to a tragic episode and probably acheived nothing - perhaps the tiger was killed as the only way to try and help the keeper.
  11. David Chaulk

    David Chaulk New Member

    The keeper was the senior cat handler at the so-called 'zoo'. He had years of experience with cats in Africa before re-locating to NZ. Zion Wildlife Park has a very dodgy safety record (the same keeper saved another keeper from being mauled to death recently and there has been significant doubt about whether or not the park was using 'best practice' safety procedures) and there is a legal dispute between family members who own the park. From what I've seen on TV, Andrew's assumption seems to be correct - the tiger was shot in a last ditch attempt to save the keeper.
  12. HaleStorm

    HaleStorm Member

    it was the zookeeper that made the mistake, anyone in that position should know all the habits of such a dnagerous animal, he turned his back to it, which makes the tiger automatically think prey, because tigers sneek up from behind to hunt and kill. The tiger is a wild animal, and should be expected to act as such. There was no need to kill such a beautiful and endangered animal.
  13. Rapier

    Rapier Supporting Member

    Apart from trying to get the keeper out while still alive. :rolleyes:
  14. HaleStorm

    HaleStorm Member

    sorry, i was under the impression they killed the tiger after the attack, my bad

    but dont they have poretty much instant-effect tranquilisers avaliable now?
  15. Hells Bones

    Hells Bones Active Member

    Well, the man who ran the park and who reared most of the cats there was suspended due to a government report saying they were concerned about the welfare of the cats. Apparently the incidents involving the cats have only started happening since he was suspended.

    Maybe this is the unfortunate circumstance that either brings him back or spells the end of the park.

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