Scores of exotic animals are dead after officials were forced to kill them when a Zanesville, Ohio farm owner set them free on Tuesday night.
The Associated Press reported that after Terry Thompson, the owner of Muskingum County Animal Farm, let the animals free, he took his own life.
Almost 50 animals, including lions, bears, monkeys, and 18 rare Bengal tigers were hunted down by officers following the incident. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species estimated as of 2010 that there were fewer than 2,500 Bengal tigers left in the wild, due mainly to habitat loss and poaching. Director Emeritus of Columbus Zoo Jack Hanna said that the actions were unfortunate but necessary.
Regardless, many officers struggled with what they had to do. Hanna said during a Wednesday press conference, "Going home and saying to their kids they had to shoot a tiger, one of the rarest animals in the world, I wouldn't want to be one of these guys, having to tell my kids."
In the wake of the tragedy, exotic animal rules are now being debated in the area.
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The Associated Press photo caption reads "carcasses lay on the ground at the Muskingum County Animal Farm Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2011, in Zanesville, Ohio."