The best place for a Sumatran tiger is in Sumatra-not the Sacramento Zoo. Yet, it's now reported that a 15-year-old Sumatran tiger died after being attacked by another captive tiger there. These tigers were forced together in unnatural confinement, devoid of all that they need innately, biologically, physically, and environmentally... all in an effort at forced breeding. The male became aggressive and killed the female.
This is, of course, shocking; it is, of course, sad; but, most importantly, perhaps, it is, of course, totally predictable and preventable. I feel as though I've said it so many times before, and I wonder how many more times I'll have to say it again... Wild tigers belong in the wild. Their welfare is compromised in captivity, and there is zero conservation benefit to keeping them or even breeding them in captivity.
Should these tigers have bred successfully, they would not see their offspring shipped to the wild in Asia to repopulate forested areas of that tiger-depleted continent. They would have languished in the Sacramento Zoo in perpetuity (unless they were shipped to some other zoo instead). TV news reports note that the female, now deceased, had been at the zoo since 2002 and had five offspring. When I heard this, my mind immediately turned to thoughts of horrific puppy mills throughout the United States, where poor dogs are kept confined in cages, forcibly bred to supply the pet trade. We rarely think of wild animals in zoos this way, and I know I never have before, but that's what it seems like here. This majestic, highly endangered animal, living in captivity for 15 years, forced to breed, with no chance of freedom. How pathetic.