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Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Brown bears euthanised in UK Zoo ... purpose of Zoological parks !!

If you are a Chennaite and over 50 years of age, you may recall that there once existed a Zoo nearer Moore market complex (Central Railway station) and alter shifted to Vandalur.  Earlier, it was mostly animals in cage, whereas at Vandalur most animals are in their natural environ, and look far more healthy !!

But what is a Zoological park ?  -  the model of the modern, public zoo became popular in 18th century, during the Age of Enlightenment. The Age of Enlightenment was a period in European history when science, reason, and logic were promoted as ideals of society and government. The scientific focus of the Age of Enlightenment extended to zoology. Zoos first began centuries ago as centres of entertainment to satisfy people’s curiosity about animals. Zoos have evolved to become centres for conservation, education, research and recreation. It is claimed that animals are not mere exhibits, Zoos are often the sites of sophisticated breeding centers, where endangered species may be protected and studied. Yet, sadly, over the years so many animals have been killed in Zoo too !

Sure you know  the ‘moral story’- of two friends venturing into a forest – being chased by a bear.  One of them climbs the tree fast leaving the other in lurch.  The 2nd falls  flat holding his breath; bear comes nearer, smells, presuming him to be dead, goes away ! The man who eloped comes down and asks -  what did the bear whisper ? – the man on ground replied ‘to stay away from friends who run away at the time of danger’! .. ..  .- just take it on ‘moral story value’.  Bears may still harm the dead and they can climb the trees as well !!

Thomas Stamford Bingley Raffles was born on 5 July 1781 on board the ship Ann, off the coast of Port Morant, Jamaica, to Captain Benjamin Raffles   and Anne Raffles.  When Benjamin retired from the slave trade in 1800, it caused his family considerable hardship !    Sir Thomas Stamford Bingley Raffles, FRS (1781 – 1826) was a British statesman, Lieutenant-Governor of the Dutch East Indies (1811–1816), and Lieutenant-Governor of Bencoolen (1818–1824); best known for his founding of modern Singapore and the Straits Settlements. Raffles was heavily involved in the capture of the Indonesian island of Java from the Dutch during the Napoleonic Wars, and the running of day-to-day operations on Singapore. He also wrote The History of Java (1817). 

Miles away, Oregon wildlife officials shot and killed a young black bear that was frequently sighted near a popular boat launch on one of the state’s northwestern lakes after humans kept leaving food for him. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announced last week that the bear ― likely 2 or 3 years old, according to The Statesman Journal ― was “lethally removed” from the area after state officials determined the wild animal had become habituated to Scoggins Valley Park near Henry Hagg Lake. The decision to euthanize the bear came after Washington County Sheriff’s Office and the Oregon Department of Fish received reports of bear sightings in that area near the launch. Law enforcement officials also found photos on social media of people posing for “selfie” photographs with the bear. They set out to trap and transport the animal, but realized it was “way too habituated” to relocate because the bear did not retreat as they approached, wildlife biologist Kurt Licence told the Statesman Journal.

Under Oregon law, it’s illegal to “scatter food, garbage or any other attractant so as to knowingly constitute a lure, enticement or attractant for potentially habituated wildlife,” the state’s wildlife department noted in its statement. Not only can feeding bears make them sick, it reduces the chances of wildlife officials being able to relocate them because they are more likely to have dangerous encounters with humans in the future, according to officials. So for the mistake the humans did, the officials punished the bear ! – most humanly inhumane.

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo,  is a zoo and safari park located at Whipsnade, near Dunstable in Bedfordshire, England. It is one of two zoos (the other being ZSL London Zoo in Regent's Park, London) that are owned by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), a charity devoted to the worldwide conservation of animals and their habitats. The Zoological Society of London was founded in 1826 by Sir Stamford Raffles with the aim of promoting the worldwide conservation of animals and their habitats. To this end ZSL London Zoo in Regents Park, London was established. The first animals arrived at the park in 1928, including two Lady Amherst's pheasants, a golden pheasant, and five red junglefowl. Others soon followed including muntjac, llama, wombats and skunks.

Now the zoo is in news as two brown bears have been shot dead !  .. the Chief of Whipsnade Zoo has said an 'immediate threat to human life' forced keepers to shoot dead two escaped brown bears amid backlash from animal lovers for not using tranquiliser darts instead. The female bears, named Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, were euthanised by zookeepers after using a fallen tree to clamber into another enclosure, where they attacked a male boar.

Bedfordshire zoo's chief curator, told staff in a statement that it had been 'an incredibly upsetting and difficult day' but the decision was driven by 'safety' and a need to 'protect our people, guests and our other animals.' He added that the pair were not tranquilised because this can take 'at least 20 minutes to work'.   It follows social media users criticising the zoo for its actions, with some calling for its closure and others questioning its preventative measures.   The Curator added that there were people inside the park and  'When there's an immediate threat to human life, the decision is made for you.' As well as attacking other animals, there was an imminent danger of the two bears escaping over the low fence of the boar enclosure they had reached, the zoo said.

Perhaps the construction was not good, allowing the bears to escape, they had entered only an adjacent enclosure, the Zoo was not prepared for tranquilisers, instead resorted to killing calling it ‘euthanising’ !   The boar suffered injuries, but ultimately survived and was attended to by vets after the situation was declared safe. Strong winds yesterday morning had originally felled the tree, forming a 'bridge' between the two enclosures, it was later stated.

Further news states that it  is rare for brown bears to attack humans on sight, with the species tending to avoid human contact.  There are less than 40 attacks worldwide annually, with the majority in Europe occurring in Romania.

Now read the second  para again, Zoos have a scientific focus and .. ..  have evolved to become centres for conservation, education, research and recreation!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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