This really is a very distressing story. It hurts to read about it. It makes me sick to the stomach to be perfectly honest. It’s the kind of story which makes you wonder what the hell the human race is doing on this planet.
It’s a story about a female tiger at Waccatee Zoo, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina whose name is Lila. She has been confined to a tiny, totally unsuitable, concrete and iron cage for many years. She is often seen pacing which is a sign of stress. Visitors to the zoo have made it known I hope to the zoo management and to the authorities that she is licking away the hair on her body.
She licks incessantly while in a hunched posture inside the cramped cage. This very much looks to me as if she is suffering severe stress, day in day out, month in month out, year after year and is demonstrating an acute version of OCD. She is licking herself to try and calm herself down because it is a reassuring and calming process for a cat. We see this in domestic cats. Lila is almost bald. She may be suffering from other conditions.
The troubling aspect of the story other than the fact that the zoo management don’t give a damn about this tiger’s health and welfare is that the authorities who have inspected the establishment have past it as fit to carry on.
As a consequence, Carole Baskin of Big Cat Rescue (BCR) has teamed up with Minka Kelly, an actress, to fight a common cause to plead that this tiger be released to a sanctuary where she can be cared for properly and restored to some sort of health before it is too late. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has offered to step in to facilitate transferring Lila to “an accredited sanctuary where she can receive expert care and appropriate treatment”.
The zoo owners have been asked to comment but refused to do so. They did say that they have been harassed by zealous animal rights groups for 30 years.
Comment: it does not surprise me that they have been harassed by animal rights groups. The picture of Lila makes me want to weep. It is the ultimate form of cruelty to do this to a beautiful animal such as a tiger. If I was in charge I would shut this place down within the hour. I would remove Lila from her cage as a matter of urgency and place her in a sanctuary where she can express at least to some extent her natural motivations and desires for the remainder of her life. We at least owe that to her as decent human beings having put her through this torture for all these years. Please God let this happen.
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