Wild animals escaping: why shoot them?

Recently, wolves had escaped from their enclosure in a zoo in Tarn, and some had been shot. Another example, still with wolves: A year ago, six canines arrived at a zoo in Aude. The next day, they managed to escape. If five of them were either shot or captured, one animal was never found. A few days ago, his presence was identified 100 km from the zoo from which he had fled. The animal is said to have attacked a herd last summer.

A question then arises: in what case are the wild animals fleeing their confinement, or in the city, slaughtered, and in what case are they only stunned? We asked the question to Baptiste Mulot, the veterinary director of ZooParc de Beauval.

When to stun a wild animal

“Every situation is unique, explains the specialist. First of all, it depends on the species. Those that are slaughtered are dangerous animals to humans: a large cat, such as lion where is tigerthat Wolves or theelephant e.g. In this case, we will always set up both options. In the good ones Zoo’s, the priority will always be to anesthetize the animal in order to bring it back to its enclosure. He’s not there too much if he escaped. But we will always have the opportunity to shoot down if we assess that there is an imminent danger to the man.

This is also true when a human enters the enclosure of a dangerous animal. That was the case a few years ago in an American zoo where a child fell into the gorilla enclosure. “This child’s life was at stake by the actions of the male gorilla, and the decision was made to beat him down.”, the vet remembers. A few weeks ago, a tiger also had to be put down after an employee tried to pat it through the gates to its enclosure. The feline then grabbed his arm and refused to let go.

It is not possible to stun a wild animal in all situations. “You need to know that unlike what you see in movies or series where you shoot an animal and it falls asleep in a second, it does not work that way in real life, reveals Baptiste Mulot. When you do teleanesthesia, it takes at least 10 to 15 minutes before the animal falls asleep. “ Injected into the muscle, it takes time for the product to diffuse and reach the nerve centers.

“Take the example of one jaguar who escapes. If the park is empty, it is in the middle of the week, in winter, or if we have managed to surround the area, in this case we can stun the animal. Because even if it moves during the 10 to 15 minutes, the risk is extremely limited, explains the expert. On the other hand, if cats escapes in mid-July, with people in the park, you potentially do not have the 10-15 minutes. During this time, he has time to kill one or two people. “

Who is responsible for the shooting?

When an animal escapes, park staff and police can intervene. Everything will depend on who is already there. Thus, if the animal remains within the park, the chances are greater that it is up to the staff to act. “But if the police are there, they will take care of it, because the police are much more used to shooting than us”.

If, on the other hand, there is a wild animal in the city, the police will usually be the first on the scene. “In this case, it will be a joint decision to put the animal to sleep or kill it. You need to know that the gendarmerie does not have access to anesthetics. It is mandatory, these products can not only be prepared and handled by veterinarians. So we can imagine that a vet is preparing the arrow and that it is a policeman who is shooting “explains the specialist.

But if no vet can be there quickly, you have to wonder if there is time to wait for the stun gun to arrive. “Can the animal disappear in this time? We must not forget that we are on wild animals, with mobility, speed, etc., which are not ours. Everyday, if you look away for a second, the animal may no longer be there.remember the vet. At some point, depending on the urgency of the situation, a choice must be made. But it is always a pity that an animal is slaughtered. “ Fortunately, this type of event remains very rare.

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