The zoo is a wonderful place to see wild animals up close and personal. This experience is often exceptionally safe, with every precaution taken to keep the animals separated from the human audience. However, sometimes through escapes, irresponsible pet keepers or cities built next to wild areas, dangerous animals can come face-to-face with humans. Wild cats getting loose can be especially terrifying, but quick intervention is almost always able to prevent harm. Two such incidents happened last year.
For one example, Miguel Martinez in Mexico came home to find a lion cub camped outside his home. At first he thought it was a toy, but was shocked to find it was a living, breathing animal, and quite a dangerous one at that. Wisely, he stayed in his car, called the police, and waited for them to arrive and capture the cub. In this case, the lion was a neighbor’s pet, though clearly not a well-thought out decision. The owner said they had planned to give the lion to a more suitable home and this incident sped up the process as the cub was given to the La Pastora Zoo.
Another incident took place in April, 2015 at the Oklahoma City Zoo. A tiger got loose and the zoo responded swiftly. Visitors were escorted out of that section and the tiger was found, immobilized by a tranquilizer, and given space to recover.
These are two examples where a wild cat on the loose resulted in a happy ending. Unfortunately, sometimes injury and even death can result. But as these incidents show, quick thinking, and staying safe can avert harm for humans and keep the animal safe too.