The dreadful news that a zoo keeper in the UK has died after being mauled by a captive tiger is tragic especially when you consider that the woman loved her animals and obviously cared deeply about them. It's always going to be a risk working with large predatory animals that can be unpredictable but these animals were never meant to live captive. They should be roaming free living as all animals should. So many are captive bred however but I think their wild instincts are still very strong and the fact that they can't follow those instincts can lead to frustration and bursts of explosive animal rage. If you realise that some tigers need a territory that could be hundreds of kilometres how can we honestly expect them to be happy held captive for our entertainment in comparably small spaces being fed what we decide to give them. Just as orcas have demonstrated a psychosis from being held captive that results in aggression towards their human handlers tigers do too. It makes me sad to hear about this poor girl who probably lived for her job with the animals in her care but it's also a wake up call that perhaps we need to rethink the way we keep top predators in captivity.
It's shocking that here in Australia there are no bans in place to prevent the trade in elephant ivory and rhino horn at auction houses. We might be a small country in terms of contribution to the ghastly trade in ivory and horn but it all adds up to a crisis for these animals. A lot of people probably think it just goes on in Asia but a recent survey has revealed an unchecked trade going on right here in our own backyard. As these giants of the African bush fight for their existence we can all make a difference by saying NO to ivory products. Old ivory trinkets that may be very valuable should also be taken out of circulation and auction houses required by law to refuse to auction them. If they aren't available then they can't be traded. I wish there was some way all the items made of ivory could be collected and destroyed to help end the trade but failing that we can all do something to help elephants and rhinos just by being aware first.
Just as other countries such as the US have discovered the enormous benefits of top predators like the wolf some experts are supporting the idea of reintroducing dingoes into the Australian landscape. With feral cats and foxes threatening to wipe out so many of our small native animals dingoes may be our last chance to save them. As in Yellowstone without the wolf after they were systematically wiped out the whole environment changed, deer overpopulated and degraded the land and the river areas along with many other significant impacts that were destroying the beauty of the natural habitat. Since the reintroduction of the wolf Yellowstone has flourished which proves this amazing animal is necessary to a healthy environment. So it is with the dingo our only top predator. People need to rethink their attitudes to this animal instead of persecuting it, he could be the obvious key to our feral animal problem.
Sea lions are large animals and very powerful so it's hardly surprising that one could drag a small girl into the water. Whenever people choose to feed wild animals they do however take a risk that it will end badly even though it seems innocent enough. It doesn't take animals long to identify us with food and sometimes they are hungry and get frustrated. No matter how tempting it is to feed wild animals I personally think we probably aren't doing them any favours and we also put ourselves at risk if they are large and strong.
It's way beyond time that the circus as a form of entertainment is shut down so the news that Ringlings is about to have it's last performance is joy to me. There is no doubt that the animals are subjected to an unnatural and often cruel life all in the name of entertainment. None of the animals live the life they should with rigorous training methods enforced to make them perform for the crowds that must surely lead to frustration of their wild instincts. Even as a child I detested the circus in an instinctive way, unsure of why, but I knew it was wrong on some level I could not articulate. With other countries across the world starting to shut down animal based entertainment it's obvious change is underway and not before time. Animals have the right to live as they should in the wild not caged and performing for our benefit. I wonder though what happens to all the animals liberated from a life in the circus and hope that they get to live out their lives in peace.
Its amazing what animals are capable of. This video shows a protective Asian elephant running to the rescue of her care giver after a situation was set up to see her reaction when he was 'attacked'. It has been documented that some of the big brain animals such as lions elephants and of course wolves and probably others I don't know about have come to the aid of or intervened when they thought a human they are attached to or bonded with is in danger. The more I know about animals the more they amaze me and I realise we understand only a small part of what makes them tick.
Did you know that lion cubs are taken from their mothers at a very young age to be raised as to entertain tourists ? Yes and when they are too big or unmanageable they are then used as fodder for canned hunting. It's barbaric and cruel and one of the most graphic examples of animal exploitation I know of. Many tourists are probably unaware of the terrible fate of these lions but if they did would they still want to pet or walk with one ? I wouldn't and we shouldn't be fooled into thinking it's harmless because it isn't. Lions are facing a battle to survive against so many forces such as habitat loss and trophy hunting that as a species they could be extinct in our lifetime. Instead of continuing to exploit these magnificent creatures we should be doing everything we can do to help them survive in the wild where they belong. If you are going to Africa don't engage in these 'encounters' with lions or in fact any wild animal. Go on safari into their habitat because you will learn far more about them than walking with them or petting them in a captive situation where they never get the chance to be lions.