Escaped circus tiger shot dead in Paris after it enters train station; Who is to be blamed?

"A tiger is on the loose, please vacate the station," came the announcement at a train station in the 15th arrondissement of Paris.

Representational picture of a captive tiger Pixabay

A real life Madagascar story ended in tragedy when an escaped circus tiger was shot dead by a marksman in Paris after entering a train station, causing people to panic and flee.

"A tiger is on the loose, please vacate the station," came the announcement at a train station in the 15th arrondissement of Paris. The said tiger had escaped from a circus enclosure and was roaming around Paris streets before it decided to enter the station. Its activities caused "intense panic" in people of the city, which set them "running and screaming."

The description of the incident is very significant as it has been said that the tiger "threatened rail passengers" before policemen shot it dead and "neutralised all danger." Perhaps, the version of the story indeed depends on who is saying it. And since mankind is the one with the speaking voice, we often forget to think about the other side of the story.

As described by a witness, the "very big, fierce-looking animal" was the danger in that situation, surrounded by weak humans at his mercy. That is why it needed to be killed. However, a few minutes before, the very same animal had been in captivity at a circus, where these weak humans trained him and made him perform tricks to entertain other humans.

Circus employees tried to recapture the tiger with a pole and meat but when the beast proved stubborn, they told the police to use live bullets, which have fatal projectiles at their tip. "There were fears that the tiger would hurt passengers around the Garigliano Bridge. That's where he was cornered and then shot dead," reported the Daily Mail.

The culmination of the tragedy was announced like this, "The incident on line T3a is over, and traffic has resumed." Further, a Paris police prefecture spokesman said, "The animal has been neutralised. All danger is gone."

It is unclear how the animal escaped from captivity.

According to PETA, several countries have already banned wild animal circuses, including Austria, Greece, Mexico, Netherlands, India and Singapore. The entertainment industry is also trying to educate people about this issue with movies like the Madagascar series, where Alex the lion escapes the zoo with his friends and finds his original home.

In May 2016, gorilla Harambe was shot to death by a worker at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden after a three-year-old boy entered his enclosure. This gave rise to a worldwide debate on the killing. Unwaveringly, we tend to assign higher significance to human lives during every such encounter, without sparing a thought for these other species.

IUCN has categorised tigers as endangered, providing data that says only 3500 tigers were on the earth in 2014, compared to the seven billion human population. And yet, we think so little about the minority.

This incident and the one involving Harambe point out how little choice we have against killing innocent animals when they come into close proximity to humans. Perhaps it is time to reconsider our laws and ethics so that such "incidents" can be avoided in the future.