Friday, April 07, 2006

wind and tigers and spruce trees (oh my!)

My neck of the woods is making news headlines this morning. About ten miles southeast of here, a woman was mauled to death by a Bengal tiger yesterday. The good news is, that does not mean there are Bengal tigers roaming loose in the woods. At least I hope. The tiger was kept penned up on the woman's property; apparently she was licensed to keep it and she used to run a wildcat breeding program. The only clue I had that I was living so close to Bengal tigers was the large chain link fence enclosing that property; I had often wondered if they were fencing something in or keeping something out.

The woman was discovered in the tiger cage by a man who had come to do some burning on the property. The tiger was walking around looking "agitated"; eventually law enforcement and a veterinarian arrived and the tiger was put down in order to reach the victim. According to the sheriff, who usually does not venture out into these parts, the cause of death was "obvious", but he "did not elaborate". Oh, the mental image that conjures up.

Why people choose to keep big exotic cats is beyond me. Besides the obvious safety issue, and there have been several maulings around the state recently, I just don't think these animals belong in cages. It is sad that their natural habitat is disappearing, but keeping wild cats for breeding or other purposes in confinement is sad too.

Another question I have is why the guy was even considering burning yesterday; it was windy! The Hermit has seen one "controlled" grass fire, tended by people who supposedly knew what they were doing, get out of hand in a light wind and burn down a barn. Ah, but it's that time of year, and for some reason rural folk just can't stand the sight of last year's growth of grass or cattails in ditches and swamps.

The wind continued all through the night and this morning. Which brings me to spruce trees. I just received a call here at work from The Hermit, who informed me that a fairly large spruce tree had broken off halfway up the trunk and hit the cabin. Wow. Apparently there's little damage, and he and Mr. Attitude are fine, but I know who's going to spend the afternoon with the chain saw. Pictures soon, maybe.


Rurality said...

Wow. Do you know the singer John Wesley Harding? He has a song about big cats & people... I think it's called "Haven't they ever heard of Darwin?"!

Glad nobody was hurt by your tree. We are expecting tornadoes tonight so I'm keeping my fingers crossed for all of ours.

Cindy said...

we've had those same winds.. kinda spooky when you're surrounded by trees. I often whisper 'stay up there trees' because so many are close to the house.
And what a tragedy regarding the tiger- I personally feel the U.S. should ban all imports of exotics be they cats, lizards, birds, etc.

and hey, I'm getting a new fridge next month.. I had to chuckle about the ice making machine. We had one years ago and my dog would bark like a maniac everytime the ice would drop into the container, so that feature was disabled REAL quick :)

Rob said...

To be fair unless these captive breeding programs continue there won't even be any big cats left. If we can save them from extinction and then hopefully one day re-release them into the wild. A necessary evil if we're ever going to do things right for them.

Deb said...

Yes, it is perhaps a necessary evil, although I question whose hands these cats' future should be in. It seems like there are more private parties than I ever imagined here in Minnesota that keep big cats, and that's just the ones you hear about when something bad happens. They are just now opening up a sanctuary for big cats, whose owners cannot keep them for whatever reason, five miles from where this event took place.