[…] 56 exotic creatures — a fierce menagerie that included wolves, monkeys and 18 Bengal tigers, an endangered species whose numbers total less than 3,000 in the wild — […] had fled their cages on a 73-acre private reserve. Friends described the couple who ran it as animal lovers, but they also had a history of run-ins with the authorities.
By late Wednesday, a day after the hunt began, the authorities in this central Ohio city of 25,000 said they had killed or captured all but one of the animals, a monkey. It had not been seen all day, and officials believed that it might have been killed by one of the other animals, said Tom Stalf, assistant director of operations at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.
The creatures had been freed on the reserve, a few miles west of downtown Zanesville, after one of the owners apparently cut open their wire cages or opened the doors and then fatally shot himself, the authorities said.
An attempt was made to tranquilize one of the tigers, but ultimately all eighteen were shot and killed.
I understand the authorities putting public safety first, but the deaths of so many innocent, frightened, and in many cases endangered animals are still a tragedy.
As I’ve written before (and as the article points out), there are only three thousand tigers left in the wild — with just a thousand breeding females — and their situation is no less dire today. Click here to help.