An 11-year-old boy has lost his arm after he went into a restricted area of a tiger enclosure at the Cascavel Zoo in Parana, Brazil, tragically providing yet another stunning example of why wild animals should not be kept in captivity for the amusement of humans. The boy was visiting the zoo when he was allowed to jump over the security barrier by his father so he could pet the Tiger, named Hu, and feed him pieces of meat. The boy was then allowed to begin climbing the enclosure, which resulted in Hu becoming clearly agitated by the boy’s presence and ultimately lunging.
Officials of the Cascavel Zoo claim to be stunned by the attack, saying that Hu is “one of the sweetest” animals in the zoo. Seriously? Would they be surprised if he had attacked someone on a New York City Subway? Hu is not a domesticated animal. Hu is a tiger, a wild animal, who has no business being anywhere but in the wild, along with all of the other animals currently forced to live in unnatural enclosures with insufficient space and stimuli to meet their needs while humans disrupt and unnerve them. While this story is horribly sad for all involved, it is by no means a new tale. Time and time again we hear of animals in captivity “suddenly” turning on their trainers and handlers or even each other.We need to start looking at each of these examples as pieces of the whole as opposed to isolated incidents if we ever hope to solve the actual problem.
Neither the Tiger, who was placed in isolation for nearly a week in the aftermath of the incident as some called for his destruction, nor the child who lived through the horror of believing he was about to die and ultimatly losing a limb are the ones who should be punished and yet that’s exactly how it turned out. The tiger acted like a tiger and the child, in the face of insufficient zoo security and a parent who is subsequently being charged with negligence in the incident, acted like a child. The blame should fall squarely on terrible supervision and a system that is set up to invite accidents like this as well as cruelty and misery. Wild animals need to be respected as such, and that will never happen when admission is paid to see them in a zoo.
Our hearts go out to this boy, Hu and the countless other humans and animals impacted by these incidents every day.
lead image: youtube/Animal Files