Staff Editorial

The recent shooting and killing of a domesticated tiger begs to question why common sense didn't exist in the minds of the members of the Department of Fish and Game, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Ventura County Sheriff's Department. If they were worried that the hungry, tiresome animal was going to attack someone, why wasn't it taken into consideration the fact that the supposed dangerous beast hadn't hurt a single soul in the two weeks it was loose and roaming in residents' backyards?
In the effort to conserve wildlife, the recent tragedy comes across as being rather hypocritical of a system that advises us to conserve nature and its species. In this case, however, instead of carefully executing a plan that would allow the tiger to survive by tranquilizing it and later be relocated, a poor thought-out procedure of shoot and kill was performed.
Supposedly, tranquilizing it would have posed too much of a risk. The behavior of the tiger, according to trackers from the Department of Fish and Game, was unpredictable and they couldn't risk the lives of the residents and motorists, had the animal panicked and headed for the highway once it had been hit with a tranquilizer.
Did it ever occur to them that residents could've been advised to stay indoors and that the road could have been closed off for the approximate ten minutes it would have taken the animal to be completely sedated?
But to be fair, the Dept. of Fish and Game should not be held entirely responsible for the lack of environmental awareness there exists.
The full responsibility should fall not only on the individuals who thought it would be a smart idea to domesticate wild cats but should also rest with the current law that awards people with permits allowing them to keep exotic animals. Though these cowardly individuals have yet to come forward and accept the fault for not alerting the public of the tiger's situation, the ownership of such animals should not have been in their hands in the first place.
Such ownership laws further increase the possibilities of more unnecessary killings and wandering wild animals. It also reinforces the ignorant idea that man has a slight superiority over nature.
We can only hope that the candlelight vigil held by the residents of Ventura County serves as a reminder that tasks don't have to be executed in such a cruel manner but instead can be humanely done.