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6 noviembre 2012 2 06 /11 /noviembre /2012 15:17
Pittsburgh Zoo Tragedy: Why Did African Wild Dogs Attack Boy?

(Photo Credit: NewsChopper 2/KDKA)

 

 

Jauría de perros pintados salvajes africanos mataron niño de 2 años el Zoo de Pittsburgh

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Publicado el 05 de noviembre 2012

 

En un contexto de "peor pesadilla" , 11 perros pintados salvajes africanos mataron a un niño de dos años de edad, en el el zoológico de Pittsburgh en Pennsylvania el domingo después de que el bebé cayera en la jaula de los cánidos, anunciaron los funcionarios del zoológico en una conferencia de prensa el lunes.

 

Uno de los perros recibió un disparo después de que no dejara el cuerpo del muchacho. Los otros han sido puestos en cuarentena. "El zoológico lamenta el terrible y trágico accidente", dijo Barbara Baker, directora general del Zoológico de Pittsburgh, que permanecerá cerrado hasta nuevo aviso.

 

¿Por qué los cánidos atacaron a la criaturita? Se estableció contacto con dos expertos en perros salvajes africanos: Rosie Woodroffe, investigadora senior en el Instituto de Zoología de Londres, y Kim McCreery  de African Wild Dog Conservancy de Tucson, Arizona, para obtener información que explicara el comportamiento de los animales.

 

Cuéntame un poco sobre los perros salvajes africanos.

 

Kim McCreery: Viven en manadas, similares a las de los lobos. Son un grupo familiar. Hermanos, madre, padre, y adultos que cuidan de los cachorros. Incluso tienen niñeras en la guarida. Los cachorros comen en primer lugar, a diferencia de otros carnívoros que viven en grupo.

 

En cuanto a su organización social, son muy similares a las familias humanas.

 

Nosotros [ McCreery y el co-fundador de African Wild Dog Conservancy Bob Robbins] hemos estudiado su comportamiento durante años. Los perros salvajes tienen un comportamientos amistosos y sumiso como regla de conducta en la manada. Ellos no pelan los colmillos como otros perros. Más bien, hacen un rizo labial, que es muy difícil percibir.

 

2 year-old boy mauled to death by wild dogs

 

¿Están los perros salvajes africanos amenazados?

 

McCreery: Se clasifican como en peligro de extinción por la IUCN [Unión Internacional para la Conservación de la Naturaleza]. La fragmentación del hábitat y la persecución [de parte de los humanos] son ​​sus dos principales amenazas. 

 

¿Por qué cree usted que los perros pintados salvajes atacaron al chico que había caído en su hábitat?

 

McCreery: En realidad no podemos decir. Mi colega [Bob Robbins] y yo hemos estado hablando de ello. Lo de ayer fue una tragedia. Y no sabemos exactamente lo que pasó.

 

En la naturaleza, nunca hemos sido amenazados por perros salvajes, y hemos pasado horas y horas en la selva africana.

 

Rosie Woodroffe (vía correo electrónico): Por supuesto, este es un evento triste y traumático, que debe haber sido terrible para la familia del niño y para los testigos. Tengo hijos de esa edad y yo realmente siento la pérdida como de la familia.

 

El primer punto que me gustaría aclarar, es que los perros salvajes no son peligrosos para las personas en estado salvaje. Nunca he oído hablar de un ataque a personas, y en la que trabajo en Kenia, la gente-incluyendo a los niños pastores pequeños que cuidan sus cabras o caminan a la escuela, suele cruzarse con perros salvajes regularmente, sin embargo, la población local no tiene miedo de ellos.

 

Personalmente, he caminado hasta los perros salvajes muchas veces y nunca nos sentimos amenazados.

 

La segunda cosa a destacar es que los perros salvajes son extremadamente audaces y curioso. Por ejemplo, si usted conduce hasta ellos en un vehículo, es probable que vengan a echar un vistazo en vez de huir. Así pues, si algo inusual cae en su confinamiento, es de esperaro que toda la jauría corra inmediatamente a investigar.

 

Por lo tanto, me imagino que desde la perspectiva de los perros salvajes "en este trágico caso la interrogante sería: ¿Qué acaba de caer en nuestro recinto? ¡Vamos a ver! No es miedo, es curiosidad -vamos a morder e investigar eso (suponiendo que lo hicieran, yo no sé si lo hicieron! Nuestros cuidadores tratan de distraernos, pero esto es algo nuevo e interesante.

 

¿Le perros salvajes se comportan de manera diferente que los perros salvajes en cautiverio del Zoológico de Pittsburgh?

 

McCreery: los animales criados en cautividad se comportan de manera diferente que sus contrapartes silvestres, pero no hay nada que se pueda decir con certeza en lo que se refiere a esta tragedia. El contexto en cautiverio es muy diferente al de la naturaleza.

 

¿Algo más que quieras decir acerca de los perros salvajes?

 

Woodroffe: los perros salvajes son depredadores y tienen el instinto de perseguir presas. Los perros salvajes son curiosos respecto de los humanos, pero tienen miedo de estar muy cerca ... sin embargo, en cautiverio, yo esperaría que el miedo sea mucho menor, ya que ven a la gente de cerca cada día.

 

Sin embargo, dudo mucho de que se trataba de un ataque de depredadores.

 

Si estos perros en serio hubieran pretendido matar al niño pequeño para erlo, creo que le habrían hecho mucho más daño cuando cayó en su recinto. Una manada salvaje de ese tamaño captura una presa en cuestión de segundos y lo consumen en pocos minutos.

 

 La entrevista ha sido condensada y editada.

 

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African wild dogs in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. 

African wild dogs in a natural habitat: Botswana's Okavango Delta

 

        

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Pittsburgh Zoo Tragedy: Why Did African Wild Dogs Attack Boy?

 

"I very much doubt that this was a predatory attack," expert says

 

Christine Dell'Amore

for National Geographic News

Published November 5, 2012

In a "worst nightmare" situation, 11 African wild, or painted, dogs killed a two-year-old Pennsylvania boy Sunday after he had fallen into an enclosure at the Pittsburgh Zoo, zoo officials confirmed at a press conference Monday.

 

One of the dogs was shot after it wouldn't leave the boy's body. The others have been quarantined.

"The zoo feels terrible that this tragic accident happened," said Barbara Baker, chief executive of the Pittsburgh Zoo, which remains closed until further notice.

Why did the carnivores attack the boy? We contacted African wild dog expertsRosie Woodroffe, senior research fellow at London's Institute of Zoology, and Kim McCreery, of the African Wild Dog Conservancy in Tucson, Arizona, to get some insight into the animals' behavior.

Tell me a little bit about African wild dogs.

Kim McCreery: They live in packs, similar to wolves. They're a family group. Mom, dad, and older siblings take care of the pups. They even have babysitters at the den. Pups get to eat first, unlike other group-living carnivores.

In terms of their social organization, they're very similar to human families.

We [McCreery and African Wild Dog Conservancy co-founder Bob Robbins] have studied their behavior for years. Wild dogs have a high investment in friendly and submissive behaviors. They don't bare their canines like other dogs. Rather, they do a lip curl, which is very hard to notice.

Are African wild dogs threatened?

McCreery: They are classified as endangered by the IUCN [International Union for Conservation of Nature]. Habitat fragmentation and persecution [by people] are their two main threats. (Take an endangered-animal quiz.)

Why do you think the Pittsburgh Zoo dogs attacked the boy who'd fallen into their habitat?

McCreery: We can't really say. My colleague [Bob Robbins] and I have been talking about it. What happened yesterday was a tragedy. And we don't know exactly what happened.

In the wild, we have never been threatened by wild dogs, and we've spent countless hours in the African bush.

Rosie Woodroffe (via email): Of course, this is a sad and traumatic event, which must have been horrific for the child's family and for the witnesses. I have children of this sort of age myself and really feel for the family's loss.

The first point I'd like to make is that wild dogs are not dangerous to people in the wild. I have never heard of an attack on people, and where I work in Kenya, people—including small children herding goats or walking to school—encounter wild dogs on foot regularly, yet local people are not afraid of them.

I have personally walked up to wild dogs many times and never once felt threatened. (See African wild dog pictures.)

The second thing to point out is that wild dogs are extremely bold and curious. For example, if you drive up to them in a vehicle, they are likely to come up to have a look rather than run away. So, if something unusual falls into their enclosure, I would expect the whole pack to immediately rush up to investigate.

So, I would imagine the wild dogs' perspective on this event would be: What just fell into our enclosure? Let's go and see! It's not scary, but it's movinglet's bite it (assuming they did; I don't know if they did)! Our keepers are trying to distract us, but this thing is new and way more interesting.

Would wild dogs have behaved differently than the captive wild dogs at the Pittsburgh Zoo?

McCreery: Captive-bred animals can behave differently than their wild counterparts, but there is nothing we can say with certainty as it relates to this tragedy. The context in captivity is so different than in the wild.

Anything else you want to say about wild dogs?

Woodroffe: When all is said and done, wild dogs are predators and have the instinct to pursue prey. Free-ranging wild dogs are curious about people but afraid of them at close quarters ... yet in captivity I would expect that fear to be much reduced, as they see people at close quarters every day.

Nevertheless, I very much doubt that this was a predatory attack.

Had these dogs been serious about killing such a small child for food, I think that such a large pack would have done a great deal more damage in the time the child was in the enclosure. A wild pack of that size would dismember prey of that size within seconds and consume it within minutes.

 

Interview has been condensed and edited.

 

 

http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-city/child-killed-in-pittsburgh-zoo-exhibit-660606/

 

        

LOCAL PITTSBURGH ZOO TRAGEDY

LOCAL PITTSBURGH ZOO TRAGEDY

2-year-old boy mauled at zoo in Pittsburgh
November 5, 2012
Times Leader

PITTSBURGH (AP) - A mother's attempt to give her two-year-old son a better view of wild African dogs turned into a "horrific" tragedy at the Pittsburgh Zoo after the boy fell into the exhibit and was killed by a pack of the animals as relatives and bystanders looked on.

Lt. Kevin Kraus of the Pittsburgh police said the attack happened at about 11:45 a.m. Sunday after the mother picked the child up and put him on top of a railing at the edge of a viewing deck. "Almost immediately after that he lost his balance, fell down off the railing into the pit, and he was immediately attacked by 11 dogs," Kraus said. "It was very horrific."

It's not yet clear whether the boy died from the fall or the attack, said Barbara Baker, president of the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. Zoo officials at first estimated the boy fell 14 feet, but police said it was 11. It's not clear which is correct.

Article Photos

AP Photo
Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium President and CEO Barbara Baker holds a news conference on the death of a young boy who was killed at the zoo?Sunday.

Authorities said that zoo staff and then police responded "within minutes" but visitors described that time as being filled with screams for help. Zookeepers called off some of the dogs, and seven of them immediately went to a back building. Three more eventually were drawn away from the child, but the last dog was aggressive and police had to shoot the animal.

Steve Feldman, a spokesman for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, said no one he's spoken to can recall any deaths of children at an accredited zoo over the last 40 years or more. Feldman said the Pittsburgh Zoo successfully completed its 5-year review in September, which means it meets or exceeds all safety standards.

Authorities didn't release the name of the boy or his mother, but say she is 34 years old and lives in Pleasant Hills, just outside Pittsburgh. The boy's father arrived on the scene soon after the accident, police said.

The zoo was immediately closed, and it was not clear when it will reopen, authorities said.

The so-called painted dogs are about as big as medium-sized domestic dogs, and 37 to 80 pounds, according to the zoo. They have large, rounded ears and dark brown circles around their eyes and are considered endangered.

The attack happened in a 1.5 acre exhibit called the Painted Dog Bush Camp that's part of a larger open area where elephants, lions and other animals can be seen. Visitors walk onto a deck that is glassed on the sides, but open in front where the roughly four-foot railing is located.

In May, some of the dogs crawled under a fence and escaped into a part of the exhibit that's usually closed. The zoo was on lockdown for about an hour as a precaution.

Past fatal attacks at have prompted zoos around the nation to review safety features of their exhibits. In 2007 a tiger jumped over a wall at the San Francisco zoo, killing one visitor and wounding two others. Authorities first said the wall was 18 feet high, but a review found it was just 12 feet.

In September a man jumped off an elevated viewing train at the Bronx Zoo in New York and was severely mauled by tigers.

Kraus said there was nothing to prevent visitors to the painted dog exhibit from jumping into the exhibit area.

Police and the Allegheny County medical examiner's office are investigating, and they haven't yet interviewed the mother and father, who are receiving grief counseling.

Baker said the zoo, which has never had a visitor death, will also investigate. She said no decision has been made yet on the future of the exhibit.

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Associated Press writer Ron Todt in Philadelphia contributed to this report.

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Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

 

 

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