Video: Door Severs Lion’s Tail; Oregon Zookeeper Dismisses It

Published by Michelle Kretzer.

Once again, an animal’s blood is on the hands of the zoo industry. On Monday, a majestic lion named Zawadi, who is held captive and displayed by the Oregon Zoo, was attempting to enter an enclosed show area, as he had been instructed to do by his handlers, when the hydraulic guillotine door that seals off the enclosure came down on his tail, crushing and severing it.

An eyewitness video of the event, which has since been posted online, shows Zawadi suddenly spinning around and jerking his tail until it is free of the door. The zoo employee who was talking to the audience practically ignored the injury, saying, “Woo, got his tail caught. Sorry, buddy. We’ll check on that later,” before continuing her spiel.

Audience members urged her to pay attention to the lion, with several of them shouting, “It cut his tail off!” and “It’s bleeding a lot!” One woman exclaimed, “No wonder he doesn’t like coming in here!” Again, the worker all but ignored them, saying, “We’ll have our vets take a look at that. … He doesn’t seem too bothered,” and going on with her presentation.

What the zoo wouldn’t tell the horrified patrons is that the bones in a lion’s tail are a direct extension of his spine, and it is no wonder that Zawadi roared in pain when his was crushed and severed. Oregon Zoo veterinarian Dr. Tim Storms dismissed it as “a relatively small injury.” One has to wonder if Dr. Storms would feel the same if it had been one of his fingers or toes being crushed by a heavy door.

This lion could easily have suffered the same fate as the 16-month-old lowland gorilla who was crushed to death by a guillotine door at the San Francisco Zoo in 2014. PETA is calling on the Oregon Zoo to stop using animals as entertainment props and, as always, urging everyone to refuse to support a negligent and arrogant industry that exploits wild animals for fleeting human amusement.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind