18 Bengal Tigers

Magnificent, scary, priceless

The magnificent wild predators hold a magnetism, a fascination for us that ensures their popularity at zoos and in our hearts. In their wild homes, they occupy an invaluable place in the food chain. On an earth that is mostly viewed as a bountiful provider of natural resources for man’s convenience, diminishing wild habitats and poaching threaten the existence of most all large predators. Bengal tigers such as those shot in Ohio yesterday number just 1400 in the wild, and are a precious treasure that should be protected in every possible way. Yet a couple in Ohio “owned” over 50 exotic wild animals, including 18 of the rare Bengal tigers. In case you haven’t heard, a man named Terry Thompson and his wife kept exotic wildlife on their property in Ohio. Allegedly in a fit of depression Thompson released all of his animals and shot himself. State authorities were forced to hunt and kill the animals through the night before humans were injured. Apparently Thompson had been cited in the past for the conditions under which the animals were kept. Leopards, lions, grizzly bears and wolves were among his collection. There are a number of states that allow individuals to possess exotic wildlife. Idaho is one of those states, and a few years ago my son took me by the feed store in tiny Priest River where the owners kept a mangy looking lion in a cage at the back of their grungy store. As thrilling as it was to stumble upon a lion in such a place, it was also heartbreaking and wrong. Only those trained in the specialized care of large predators should be allowed to keep them, and the facilites should be tightly regulated to prevent lapses in care in the case of insolvency or other catastrophies. Many states have outright bans on the possession of dangerous wild animals. It is just common sense folks, and a matter of human decency. To see a summary of state laws relating to private possession of exotic animals see http://www.bornfreeusa.org.


2 responses to “18 Bengal Tigers

  1. Good for you! This was a heart breaking story that left me questioning everything involved…a gun dealer trading weapons for unwanted wild animals (cute while little…not so much at maturity)..come on people…get a grip. I saw wild tigers in India and to this day watching a mother tiger play with her kittens in the wild where they belong still brings goosebumps….in a cage, it just brings tears.
    Thanks, Gail, for your blog!

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