Zoos are disliked by some because they are considered as unnatural concrete prisons for animals. Personally, I dislike zoos because I’m scared of falling into the enclosures. And, why shouldn’t I? I mean, take a look at the stories below and then tell me if my fear is justified or not.
In general, grizzly bears attack to defend their territory and cubs. I’m sure you’ve heard how the best course of defense if attacked by a grizzly bear is to drop to the ground and play dead – after all, a dead person is not a threat. However, there is no place for rational thinking when you are faced with a bear and it also depends on your survival instincts at that particular moment of crisis. I’m sure you’d surely want to avoid facing such a situation in the first place. However, the same cannot be said for a 25-year-old mentally-handicapped man who consciously climbed into the enclosure of a bear.
It happened in 2009, on a Saturday afternoon in the Berne Bear Park of Switzerland. While visiting the park, the mentally-disabled man climbed over the railing and over the wall before dropping onto the grass, right in front of Finn, a four-year-old European brown bear.
Alone in that enclosure, the man was being carried in the predator’s mouth like a rag doll. Hearing his scream, park officials rang the emergency services. The police arrived within five minutes and they decided that the only way to free the man was to shoot the bear.
Let’s take a look at the statement of Bernd Schildger, the park director:
“When the police came and analysed the whole situation, they decided to shoot Finn – it was, according to me, the “right” decision. I believe a tranquilliser dart would have made the bear attack the man more violently before falling asleep. So, they shot the bear with a bullet, the latter was in pain and retreated.”
Now, let’s read the statement of one of the security officers of the bear park:
“Usually, there are three to four guards on duty. If someone really wants to get into the enclosure, there is not much that anyone can do to stop it. Everyone is responsible for themselves,” said Mr. Puzo, who was not on duty when the attack occurred. “It’s like going to the Amazon, being in a boat, being told the water is full of piranhas – and you still jump in. People are more dangerous than animals.
After the man was rescued, he was hospitalized with head and leg injuries and after a few days, he was no longer in a critical condition. However, there are some people who claim that the police made a wrong move by shooting the bear. Let’s see what they have to say:
“It isn’t the bear’s fault. I don’t think they should have shot it,” said Claudia Utrera, a university student from Venezuela.
Annina Urech, an environmental scientist from canton Graubünden, agreed. “This could happen any time, in any zoo. It probably would be good to lock it in a way that people could not get in. It’s a pity about the bear.”
Cleaner Survives Tiger’s Bite
This incident goes back to December 2021 and took place at Naples Zoo, when authorities found a man’s arm in the mouth of Eko, an eight-year-old Malayan tiger.
According to experts, the man was a 20-year-old cleaner hired by zoo from an outside company. When the zoo was closed, the cleaner went near the tiger enclosure, which was tagged as an “unauthorized area” and maybe tried to pet or feed him. Consequently, the tiger ripped off his arm and the latter had to be airlifted to the hospital.
Let’s see what the zoo officials had to say:
“Trying to pet or feed the animal are “both unauthorised and dangerous activities. Third-party cleaning is allowed to clean toilets and the gift shop, but not to go near animal enclosures.”