Claws come out over tigress euthanasia plan

The Haifa zoo said it wants to put old Barbara to sleep "as an act of mercy," but animal lovers say she is in no way unhappy and should be left alone.

By MIRIAM BULWAR DAVID-HAY (TRANSLATED)
March 2, 2008 13:32
1 minute read.

A decision by the Haifa zoo to euthanize its elderly tigress is causing animal lovers and zoo keepers to bare their teeth, reports Yediot Haifa. The zoo said it wants to put old Barbara to sleep "as an act of mercy," but animal lovers say she is in no way unhappy and should be left alone to live out the rest of her days in peace. Her regular caretaker has even offered to take her home and look after her there, but his offer has been refused. According to the report, zoo managers are planning to put an end to the tigress's "suffering" at the end of this month, saying that at 21, she is extremely old by tiger standards and is having trouble functioning. They say she is anemic, has lost her sight and her hearing, needs to lean against a wall to stand up, and has difficulty eating. They say that once she is put down "her soul" will continue to live in the zoo as they are considering having her stuffed. "After she is put to sleep we will allow an extensive review of the matter," one zoo manager said. But Barbara's supporters have come out snarling, saying that she still moves around freely and eats with gusto, and that "age is not a justifiable reason to cause her death." A lawyer also wrote to the zoo, saying, "We should be happy that you are not the managers of old-age homes in this country." And the zoo keeper who has looked after Barbara since her arrival at the zoo 12 years ago said he regards her "as part of the family" and offered to take her home with him and look after her. His offer was refused as being against the law.


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