Animal Rights – UPSC Ethics Case Study

A captured man-eater tiger was captured and kept in a zoo. The tiger which was famous among visitors, was shown exemplary sympathy and based on court order, was re-released to the wild. The tiger had eaten three humans in the past. Wildlife experts opine that the tiger is not a typical man-eater which are usually frail and old. It is a healthy tiger capable of hunting wild prey and now has got taste of humans.

Some say that it is morally and ethically wrong to release such dangerous animals into forests. Some argue that it is ethical to release them to forests.
a) Discuss what arguments on the basis of ethicality can be made both in favour and against such a move.
b) If you were the final authority to decide if the tiger would stay in zoo or released into forest, what would be your decision? Justify
It is ETHICAL TO RELEASE the tiger in the forest –
  • Because capturing an animal goes against Animal rights. A wild animal should be kept in the wild. The mental and physical frustrations of captivity often lead to self-destructive behaviour such as bar biting, head bobbing etc.
  • Since the tiger is young, keeping it restricted in an area might reduce its life expectancy.
It is UNETHICAL to release the tiger in the forest –
  • Since the tiger is now familiar with the taste of humans, the probability of it attacking humans is high.
  • Self-defence is human right. Localities of the area might attack the tiger when he attacks. Thus creating man-tiger conflict.
If I were the final authority, I would have kept the tiger in the zoo itself. This because, the chances of a man eating tiger who is young and familiar with human’s taste, to attack men in future are high. Since the issue is only of one tiger, so there should not be any threat to the larger community of tigers. And lives of many people cannot be put to stake for one tiger. Also, I would ask support from organizations that work for protection of captive animals, to look after the tiger that it does not harm itself or other animals.



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