The shooting death of Eko the tiger at the Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens on December 29, 2021, was an absolute travesty. With less than 200 Malayan tigers in the wild, there is now one less endangered species in captivity as well. One deranged individual’s actions led to the brutal slaying of an innocent animal who was only protecting his territory, as any sentient being would do.
The illegal actions of River Rosenquist are reprehensible. Eko’s blood is also on the hands of The Naples Zoo who allowed Rosenquist on the zoo property unsupervised after hours. They hired a third party cleaning company and provided him with unfettered access to their animals with no surveillance. They set the public up to believe that apex predators are as tame as house cats by offering “Wild Encounters” with a variety of animals including a Florida Panther.
Then, when the public treats a wild animal at their zoo as a pet, they appear to have no plan in place when the inevitable emergency happens. There were no non-lethal methods available to subdue the tiger. The police are trained to protect human life; they’re not trained to respond to attacks by apex predators.
Eko’s death must not be in vain. We must push for laws that ban people from treating these magnificent creatures as house pets. We must quash the false propaganda that keeping endangered species in cages keeps them safe because the death of Eko, Tatiana the tiger, Harambe the gorilla, and so many others, proves that this is false.
Keeping animals in cages does not help prevent their wild counterparts from going extinct. Eko may be one of the last of his kind unless we wake up and start investing resources into saving these animals rather than exploiting them.
Please support the Big Cat Public Safety Act. Please support true conservation of endangered species in their native habitat; not the lies that zoos tell you so that they can profit off of the imprisonment of innocent animals.
As tragic as Eko’s death is, he is finally free. May he rest in peace.