This is tragic. Let me clarify a few misconceptions that are being propagated here.
1. Captive big cats are the result of over 15 generations in captivity. They are not taken from the “wild” since the induction of CITES in July of 1975. This restricts the importation of endangered species such as Lions, tigers, Jaguars, Leopards et al.
2. Banning will simply A. Hasten the path of extinction on these endangered species as a lot of them are NOT BRED by AZA zoo’s (the AZA is merely an accreditation organization NOT a governing body) B. Cause the rise of more poaching as it will drive the black market value on these animals up. They are already worth more dead than alive.
3. The “poaching” that you hear of is regarding the poaching and KILLING of these beautiful animals. These cats are worth more dead than alive.
These is a tragic event. MJEF extends our heart felt sympathies to the family and friends of the victim. We also refuse to cast judgement and blame on anyone. We were not there and have no idea how it happened.
In this field we work in, it is an known and accepted risk that working with big cats, that an injury can happen. We know this. But that does not make it any easier when on occurs. The park that had this tragedy had an impeccable safety record. But to put it into perspective there were NINETEEN skydiving accidents in 2012 and NO BIG CAT accidents in 2012. But then again the animal rights groups were not on the scene to report those.
Sky divers know and accept the risks… as do we, the protectors of these endangered species.