ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Culture in Wildlife Conservation

Tolerance for the Charismatic Marauders

In 2011, a suicidal man released his pet lions, tigers and other animals into the forests of Zanesville, US. The reaction of locals contrasts starkly with that of Indian villagers who share their landscape with dangerous charismatic megafauna. India's greater tolerance towards wildlife should be responsibly leveraged to foster its conservation.

On 18 October 2011, 56 animals including lions, tigers, wolves, bears, cheetahs and monkeys were released by their mentally unstable owner into the forests surrounding Zanesville, Ohio, in the United States (US) (Schabner 2011; Caron 2011). County Sheriff Matt Lutz arrived at the scene with an hour of daylight left. The option of tranquilising and recapturing the animals was considered but dismissed on grounds of public safety. One vet did manage to tranquilise a tiger from just 15 yards’ distance, but the tiger “went crazy” and started running from the officers, who immediately killed the animal before the tranquiliser had a chance to work (Caron 2011). Soon, the sheriff and his deputies had killed 50 of the animals (including the relatively innocuous cheetahs and baboons), most within 500 yards of their enclosures (Bekoff 2011).

Tranquilise or Kill?

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