(PRWEB) July 19, 2004
This week, big-cat lovers joined in mourning with Steve ÂTarzanÂ Sipek after his tiger was killed during the recent attempt by Florida wildlife officers to recapture the feline.
The animal, named Bobo, was loose for 26 hours in Loxahatchee, Florida as wildlife officers made attempts to safely recapture him.
The cat reportedly lunged at one officer, who said he fired his revolver, killing the animal.
ÂIt was our greatest hope Bobo would be recovered alive,Â Tracy Wilson, a director with Feline Conservation Federation said. ÂBut we all agree public safety must come first.Â
Wilson said FCF members have Âgreat respect for, and faith inÂ the Florida Game and Freshwater Fish Commission and their officers.
ÂFortunately, escapes such as BoboÂs are extremely rare,Â Lynn Culver, FCF director of legal affairs, said. ÂThe safety record for the 8,000 licensed Floridians who hold over 20,000 exotic animals is excellent.Â
Culver said statistics prove that in such rare escapes, injury from a wild feline Âis almost non-existent.Â
ÂThe public has little to fear, in these situations it is the feline that may loose its life,Â Culver said.
Florida wildlife officials are investigating to identify how the Âmysterious breech of securityÂ happened at the Sipek compound.
ÂThere is speculation that someone motivated to create a public panic had a hand in BoboÂs escape,Â Culver said, ÂThis has happened before to other animal owners targeted by animal rights extremist groups. It is a frightening thought and all responsible owners should practice vigilance to prevent such domestic terrorists from doing harm to their animals.Â
FCF backs a model for state regulations that borrows heavily from the Florida permit system.
ÂTheir system is exemplary,Â FCF president George Stowers said, "Florida regulations address animal welfare and public safety while allowing the personal freedom for responsible individuals to keep an animal of their choice.Â
FCF, as a non-profit organization, supports private captive husbandry of wild felines and conservation of the species around the world, Stowers said.
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