One Of The World’s Most Critically Endangered Species, A Snow Leopard, Was Killed After Escaping His Enclosure At The Dudley Zoo In The UK
It is beyond comprehension that one of the last remaining critically endangered species, a snow leopard, was shot dead last week at The Dudley Zoo in West Midlands, UK.
Was there a dangerous escape by the snow leopard? Was the zoo open? Were members of the public on the premises? The answer to the above is an resounding, No!
The fact is that the eight-year-old snow leopard, named Margaash, simply wandered out of his enclosure where he resided after a zookeeper left the door open. It wasn’t the snow leopards fault.
Despite the snow leopard remaining on the premises which was closed at the time and void of visitors, it was somehow decided by zoo staff to kill the animal because, as the zoo claims, “public safety is of uppermost importance.” What about the protection of the animal forced to live in captivity?
Why would the zoo choose to euthanize a critically endangered species instead of tranquilizing it?
Outraged animal advocates are now demanding a thorough investigation of the tragic event that sadly occurred on October 23rd but was not announced by the zoo until November 30th.
“While this is a sad incident that is undoubtedly very distressing to those who cared for Margaash, it brings into sharp focus, once again, that zoos simply cannot guarantee the safety of people and their animals,” Dr. Chris Draper, Born Free’s Head of Animal Welfare & Captivity, said in a statement. “It is perhaps all the more tragic when you consider that Margaash was destined to live and die in captivity, far removed from his natural range and habitat.”
The nonprofit organization addressed that “there will be those who claim that zoos contribute to conservation,” which may, or most-likely may not, be accurate.
Wild Animals Do Not Belong In Confinement Nor Should They Ever Be Used For Profit To Satisfy Human Greed!
Regardless, continued Dr. Draper, “The life and death of a snow leopard at Dudley Zoo should serve to remind us just how we are failing wild animals, both in captivity and in nature.”
In the wild, snow leopards are generally solitary and secretive cats inhabiting mountainous areas of Central Asia, where males have an average home range of 77 square miles: completely incompatible with life in captivity.
According to Defenders of Wildlife, only an estimated 3,500 to 7,000 snow leopards are remaining in the wild, with 600 to 700 held captive at zoos around the world.
Born Free is not only calling for an urgent investigation into this incident, it is advocating for the system of licensing and inspection of zoos to be reviewed and overhauled to prevent a similar tragedy in the future.