(PRWEB) March 1, 2005
ÂThe recent discovery of an adult tiger roaming the hills near Simi Valley is a great concern to all responsible keepers of exotic felinesÂ, says Robert Turner, president of the Feline Conservation Federation.
FCF membership consists of licensed educational exhibitors, breeders, private zoos, individual owners and exotic feline sanctuaries.
ÂThe FCF is saddened that this drama ended in tragedy for the tiger. It is especially disturbing that the owner(s) did not report the escape of this feline to authorities. Good husbandry and responsible ownership means taking responsibility and putting public safety first if a feline escapes", says Turner.
When the tiger was spotted behind a residential neighborhood, California Department of Fish and Game officials responded. The tiger was in deep woods near a school. Officials fired shots killing the feline.
FCF director Marcus Cook says, "One look at the terrain that this tiger was found in, would tell any knowledgeable person that both public safety and officer safety would be at risk when attempting to tranquilize with a dart gun."
The male tiger is thought to have been loose for at least eight days, based on the earlier sighting of a large paw print at a nearby ranch.
The necropsy examination found no evidence of food in the tiger's stomach.
"The tiger did not hunt to eat. This demonstrates the dramatic behavioral differences between tame captive animals and truly wild animals. This was not a wild animal; it did not attempt to harm anyone. It was unable to function as a wild animal", says Cook.
The national media spotlights the escape of an exotic feline because such an event is so unusual.
"Statistics prove captive feline husbandry has an excellent overall safety record, rarely achieved by any sport, industry or occupation in America", says Turner.
California captive wildlife permits are only issued to applicants with documented handling experience. Caging and husbandry standards are enforced. An escape must be reported to authorities.
Many California FCF members are licensed to exhibit felines in their conservation education programs presented to schools and community groups.
The FCF developed an 8-hour Wild Feline Husbandry Course. Licensed instructors conduct the course across the county. Butternut Farm Wildcat Sanctuary is hosting the next class April 9, at Lane Aviation, Columbus International Airport.