28 December, 2007

Quick Thoughts on the S.F. Zoo Tiger Mauling

After reading initial reports on the recent San Francisco Zoo tiger mauling that killed one 17 year-old and caused the two other boys that were with him to be injured, I have to wonder: Where does personal responsibility fit into a situation like this?

Certainly, the zoo is responsible for the tiger's enclosure not being quite up to the height standards set by whatever organization sets said standards, but there is something to be said for common (human) sense on the part of visitors to the Zoo. Just because an animal is enclosed does not mean that it lacks the capacity to react to human stupidity.

I'm aware of the old "don't speak ill of the dead" chestnut, but it seems to me that the young men who were injured by this animal should have known better--that taunting a potentially dangerous animal (even if it is enclosed) by throwing sticks and pine cones at it is, at best, completely stupid and perhaps cruel, and at worst, fatal. Additionally, I'm no PETA militant, but how many of us had it implanted into our skulls from an early age that being mean to animals (or other "helpless") creatures is not okay? I can only hope that most of us learned such a lesson early, but perhaps the young men variously killed and injured during the tiger attack were not so lucky. The tiger was simply responding with its natural instinct--which was, presumably, to fight back when confronted.

Here is an interesting article from Newsweek on tiger behavior, in case anyone is interested in that sort of thing.

2 comments:

dwwagner said...

I want to thank the author of this blog for the intial comments. The stupidity of these young men boggles my mind. I don't think anyone deserves to be mauled to death by a wild animal. However, in this situation, I struggle to feel any sympathy or sorrow for the foolish boys who were mauled to death or mamed by a caged wild animal. I feel more sympathy and loss for the tiger who was murdered as a result of the incident. The actions of these boys - allegedly throwing sticks, pine cones and using a sling shot to aggravate, taunt and harm the animal is quite disturbing and immature. I hope any pending lawsuit(s)on behalf of the perpetrators is dismissed or rejected. The zoo and its patrons have already suffered a huge loss.

annaham said...

You're quite welcome!