From the Headlines

By Karey Burek

As we celebrate Thanksgiving, let us keep in mind to give thanks for all the wonderful creatures both big and small, slimy and smooth, furry and scaly.  They all make the earth a rich and colorful place to live.  These creatures, including people, need to be respected and revered for the role they play in our everyday survival.  I have included a story from Brookfield Zoo in Chicago to go along with this column, to show a good example of how humans impact the lives of animals.  So, before we gobble up our turkey, let us ask for the wisdom to know better and for the compassion to protect our wildlife.

 "It is with great sadness that we inform you of a tragic incident that occurred at Brookfield Zoo this week.

In the far northwest corner of the zoo, a 40-year old woman went off the public walkway, crossed a barrier, and put her hand through a chain-link fence in the enclosure where Cinnamon Bear, our northern gray wolf, resided. The wolf grabbed the woman’s forearm and would not release her. The zoo police responded immediately according to established emergency procedures. After repeated attempts to distract the wolf, it was determined that the wolf was not going to release the woman’s arm. At 100 pounds, it could take a wolf more than 10 minutes to fully respond to a tranquilizer and so the only option left to zoo staff was to sacrifice the animal to prevent further injury to the woman. The woman was awake and responsive when transported to Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood.

While we uphold the highest standards of animal welfare and care, human safety must be our foremost concern at Brookfield Zoo. As members and part of the zoo family, we are certain that you share in our grief over this incident."

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