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Sunday, August 24, 2014

From the News: Seneca Park Zoo recycle roadkill

Big cats and other large carnivores are some of the most difficult animals to enrich in a zoo setting, mainly because one of the most important parts of their life - killing other large animals - is not permissible in zoos in (many) countries.  That being said, predation doesn't end with the kill, and there is a world of difference between eating a bowl of ground meat and tearing through a hundred pound carcass, ripping skin and breaking bones, possibly dragging the whole thing hundreds of yards to a private spot to feed.  

I've seen an adult tiger tackle a deer carcass before, and it's horrifying and amazing.  He picked up the carcass - a big adult buck - by the throat and slung it around like a rag doll.  When the other keepers and I would approach too close to the fence, he would throw a protective paw over it and roar at us from a blood-stained mouth, warning us to keep back from his prize (never mind that we were the ones who gave it to him in the first place).  It kept him busy for a week, until even the biggest of bones was gone.  

Congratulations to Seneca Park Zoo (and they're not the only ones!) for taking steps to boost the quality of care for their apex predators.  And "boo" to the whiny nay-sayers quoted in this article... even PETA agrees that this is a good idea, for Pete's sake.

Lioness Amali feeds earlier this month at Seneca Park Zoo. The idea of feeding roadkill to zoo carnivores evolved into an organized food program. The zoo won’t accept deer that have been dead for more than 10 hours. (Photo: NEETI UPADHYE/@neetiu_dandc/ , STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER )

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