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Friday, December 2, 2011

Escapade – Zeebras’ day out – this time at Virginia !!

With stripes across the body, they look like having a barcode and at a glance all in the herd might look alike – they say that their stripe patterns are as distinctive as fingerprints are in man. Scientists can identify individual zebras by comparing patterns, stripe widths, color and scars but to us they would look alike apart from their size – big and small.  Not as majestic as the Horse, Zebra is a specie of African equids, live in the wild and have never been domesticated.
I had recently posted on how the human mind tends to compare nearly identical instances and the way they are handled.  It was about a zebra escapade from the Franklin Park Zoo at  Boston, Massachusetts.   It was a case of Zebra – a 900-pound endangered Grevy’s zebra, escaping her enclosure in chase of her foal at the Franklin Park Zoo and prancing freely around for more than an hour, forcing the evacuation and temporary closure of the zoo as workers tried to corral her back into custody. The foal, in equine protest of her first day in the exhibit since her birth was the first to escape by breaking through the fence and prancing around for a while. Officials had to use a tranquilizer to contain  the mother zebra, place her in a trailer and brought her back to the barn.  About 1,000 people were evacuated  during the incident.
Within a month, there is reported another incident of ‘zebras day out’ from Leesburg zoo in Virginia.  It reportedly was a petting zoo !  - a type of children’s zoo which features a combination of domestic animals and some wild species that are docile enough to touch and feed. Most of pettings zoo  usually have only domesticated animals such as sheeps, rabbits or ponies, however some wild species such as python or leopard cub may also available in certain petting zoo. Since wild animals are potentially dangerous to human although already fed or tamed, the visitors and the animals should always be supervised by its keeper.  Petting zoos are extremely popular with small children, who will often feed the animals. In order to ensure the animals' health, the food is supplied by the zoo, either from vending machines or a kiosk nearby. Food often fed to animals includes grass and crackers, and also in selected feeding areas hay is a common food. 
It is altogether different that in Zoological parks in India, people tend to disturb the animals by trying to get closer, touch, poke them with sticks and loud noises, throw stones and feed them with whatever they have at hand including popcorn, biscuits, chocolates, bread, rice and leaves and barks that are nearby – unmindful of the harm that the food and the plastic cover could cause to the animal.  
Now there are reports of zebras escaping and roaming freely from a petting zoo in a small town after an employee reportedly left their cage open.  The two  zebras managed to get out of their pen at Leesburg Zoo in Virginia. They were later captured by the sheriff's office and hit with tranquiliser darts before being returned to their enclosure.  It is reported that Police received several calls from alarmed residents reporting zebras on the loose in traffic. No one was injured by the escaped animals. 
Being zebras perhaps helped them as they were captured and brought back to the zoo.  Recently 50 wild animals including 18 rare Royal Bengal tigers, 17 lions, and some more wild animals were shot by Sheriff and his deputies in Ohio after they were let loose from an exotic animal park by its owner who reportedly committed suicide.    In that incident three leopards, a grizzly bear and two monkeys - were captured and taken to the Columbus Zoo.
Animals live happily in the wild – escaping from their predators – they are brought to places where of human living for providing humans the pleasure of seeing them – their escapades and encounters with city life is often caused by negligent workers and other human errors – but often they are injured by the trauma and the force in capturing them.
With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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