Ohio – The World’s Largest Zoo
In a story that has developed over the past few days, a man in Ohio had held over 40 exotic animals at his farm, only to release them before taking his own life. These happenings shed light on what is a largely unregulated system of underground sales of exotic and very rare animals.
According to the Washington Post, the man owned 18 Bengal tigers, 16 lions, 8 bears (two grizzlies, six black bears), three mountain lions, and a baboon. That's 46 exotic animals that this man was able to keep at his home without any trouble from authorities. The worst part of the story is that all but six of these animals were killed to prevent any future harm they would have caused to people while on the loose.
What some people may not realize is how rare some of these animals are. According to wikipedia, there are just over 2,000 Bengal tigers left in the entire world. There are only around 25,000 lions in the world, down from 400,000 in 1950. This man owned a decent percentage of the entire populations of these species. While the other animals are more common, it still does not make them suitable pets. In the article, the author points out that many of these exotic pet owners do not see the animals as harmful. How someone could see a grizzly bear as a "safe" pet, I'm not sure, but I'm guessing it has something to do with this: The people probably believe that because they raised them and are their "owner," they won't harm them. Let's remember that it took hundreds of years to domesticate dogs and cats, and there are no plans to do the same to grizzly bears or lions.
If there is a positive to the story, it's that this may prevent future sales of exotic animals. Already Ohio politicians are planning to install news laws to prevent these types of things from happening. Why they didn't have any rules in place before, no one really knows.
To put this whole thing simply, wild Tigers and Lions don't belong in Ohio, or anywhere in the U.S. for that matter. Without getting all "biology major" on you all, bad things happen when you put animals in places they aren't supposed to be. You know those annoying Starling birds? Yeah, in the 1950's a man brought them over from Europe to have them in the background of his Shakespeare play, now they are scattered across the entire U.S. There are countless other examples of the this being done with different animals as well.
So Ohioans, stop priding yourselves on getting exotic and rare animals into your state. We know, we know, but just because you have your bengals from Cincinnati doesn't mean you need to own the mascot.