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Why Did They Not Dart The Tiger

Updated on November 13, 2017

Each time a Tiger, Lion, Bear or other dangerous animal escapes and is shot dead does someone ask the question: “Why didn’t they dart it?”, “Why didn’t they anaesthetise it?”, “Did they really have to kill it?”

Sadly the answer is usually Yes! Yes they did. Sad though it is.

The darting of an animal does not go as it does on the movies or on TV. It is not simply a case for firing and injecting in the anaesthetic and the animal falls instantly asleep. It doesn’t! It could take anything from five to twenty minutes and even longer.

How soon an animal falls asleep depends on a number of factors. The main ones are:

How stressed is the animal?

Did it get the full dose?

What part of the body was hit?

Because they had to shoot it!

Imagine if you were to dart an escaped tiger and the dart hit the posterior. The shock may cause it to run a mile or so before it retired into some rough ground to sleep it off. Waking during the night a whole worse situation could result.

Zoos should, in the event of an escape do an instant risk assessment. If the animal or animals can be contained safely then they could be darted and once sedated safely returned to their enclosure. You could even dart them in an uncontained area BUT, the moment the animal approaches the perimeter fence of the zoo it should, it must be shot dead.

Consider also that not all zoos have the anaesthetics on site. These may be held by the veterinary surgeon in a location off the zoo premises. An escape will necessitate a call to the vet who may be working elsewhere. He may have to return to his premises for drugs and darting equipment. Making up a dart to the right dose takes preparation. Making up several doses will take longer.

Rest assured that in no responsible zoo is an animal ever shot out of hand. It is done because it has to be done. The alternatives could make an already difficult and dangerous situation into a disaster.

It is importat that all zoos have an escape plan in place. That all staff know what to do. That practice sessions are carried out regularily and that all staff are properly trained.

Zoo staff weep! They sometimes have to take actions they do not like. Far better that escapes never happen.

Learn more at Zoo Misconceptions

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  • sgbrown profile image

    Sheila Brown 5 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

    Yes, it is very sad, but most of the time it is very necessary. It could take just a split second for the animal to attack a person, perhaps a helpless little child that just happened to be nearby. Most of the people that work at zoos love these animals and I'm sure it breaks their heart to have to shoot them. But how would they feel if they didn't and a child was killed. Great information! I'm sure there are many people who have wondered this as well. Voted up and interesting. :)

  • moonlake profile image

    moonlake 5 years ago from America

    It is sad what happens when animals escape.

    I came to this page from Redgage can you tell me how you get your pictures to show up in Redgage. No matter what I do they won't show andI can't find the answer. I know this is strange to ask on here but your pictures are showing. Thanks for any information. Voted up and shared.

  • Peter Dickinson profile image

    Peter Dickinson 8 years ago from South East Asia

    angela_michelle - I agree...teasing is unkind no matter who or what to.

  • angela_michelle profile image

    Angela Michelle Schultz 8 years ago from United States

    That is sad. I hate hearing about when animals escape. Last year, there was this lady at a zoo who was teasing a lion, trying to get the lion to roar! I was so angry at her. I often wonder how strong are the fences that surround those animals, and if the ditches are truly large enough to keep a lion from trying to cross if they got angry enough. Sometimes I think they never try, because they have no reason to. But people like that who are teasing it, would give it good reason to test its true boundaries. First of all, if the lion would have tried to knock down the fence (since that was the main enclosure for this particular lion) it probably could have. Not only was she putting herself in danger, us in danger, and the lion. Maybe, I'm overestimating the lions stegnth and ability, but regardless teasing a lion is mean. Sorry, I had to rant.

  • Peter Dickinson profile image

    Peter Dickinson 8 years ago from South East Asia

    incastreasures - I am well aware of the slaughter in the Faroes. I have posted on my blog a few times over the years. I fail to see how Europe can point a finger at anyone else in the World whilst they allow the disgusting spectacle to continue.

  • Peter Dickinson profile image

    Peter Dickinson 8 years ago from South East Asia

    theherbivorehippi - Thanks for visiting. A sad event indeed. I would like to think we could learn from it. I hope a thorough investigation is carried out and results announced.

  • theherbivorehippi profile image

    theherbivorehippi 8 years ago from Holly, MI

    Errrr this is so irritating! The tigers did not ask to live in captivity yet now their shot? Thanks for writing on this frustrating topic!

  • Peter Dickinson profile image

    Peter Dickinson 8 years ago from South East Asia

    Hello hello and Ralph. Thanks both. I wrote this in response to the Tiger escape in Gran Canaria yesterday (23rd March 2010) when three Tigers were shot.

  • Ralph Deeds profile image

    Ralph Deeds 8 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

    Good points. Beautiful tiger.

  • Hello, hello, profile image

    Hello, hello, 8 years ago from London, UK

    That was very intersting because like everybody I was wondering why they never dart it. Thank you to give us that information and look into a world we don't know nothing about.

  • thevoice profile image

    thevoice 8 years ago from carthage ill

    great pretty tiger