Demand Justice for Lion Killed at Zoo

Target: Mark Laviolette, Chair, Ottawa Humane Society

Goal: Investigate and punish zoo owners who shot an escaped lion in an empty zoo.

A lion was recently shot to death after it escaped from its enclosure at an Ottawa, Ontario zoo. The adult  African white lion was spotted wandering outside of its enclosure by zookeepers, who within minutes made a panicked decision to shoot the animal instead of tranquilize it. The zoo claims that the decision was made in the interest of public safety despite the fact that it was closed and empty for the winter.

According to Papanack Zoo spokesperson Kerri Bayford, the lion appears to have escaped due to human error, though no specifics were given. After breaching the fence of its primary enclosure, it wandered through common areas. Ontario Provincial Police were summoned to help contain the animal as the zoo owner shot it to death with a rifle. In 2010, a tiger escaped from a similar enclosure at the same zoo, though it was successfully tranquilized and returned to its cage.

A number of unfortunate factors contributed to this lion’s death, including human error and a too-hasty decision to euthanize it. Had proper security and emergency procedures been laid out ahead of time, it is likely that this situation could have been avoided completely. Sign the petition below to demand that an investigation is launched into this distressing event and that the responsible parties are punished.


Dear Mr. Laviolette,

An African white lion was recently shot to death after escaping its enclosure and wandering throughout the Papanack Zoo, which was closed to the public for the winter. When employees discovered the lion, they quickly made the decision to kill it rather than tranquilize it. The Ontario Provincial Police arrived to help contain the animal while the zoo owner shot it. This is not the first time an animal has escapeda tiger escaped its cage in 2010 and was tranquilized and returned.

Had zoo staff been more careful with their duties and had the owner made a more sound decision, it is likely that this tragic killing could have been avoided. In order to ensure that this and other zoos adhere strictly to animal protection standards, an investigation into this incident must be conducted. We, the undersigned, demand that you investigate this thoughtless shooting and ensure that those responsible are held accountable.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Petar Milošević

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  1. Shelli Schmidt says:

    *The zoo claims that the decision was made in the interest of public safety despite the fact that it was closed and empty for the winter.* Well of course the decision to kill this lion was correct..Bullsh*t, just to damn lazy & it’s not real hard to use a tranquilizer gun instead of a real one..They’ll just buy another lion, maybe a new color..It’s good to change it up a bit..

  2. isabelle floch says:

    Animals don’t have to pay for human mistakes, especially when it comes to laziness and stupidity !!

  3. Linda McCabe says:

    This is a travesty. White lions belong in South Africa the only country where they have been born in the wild. Humans removed them all from the wild and it is only in the last few years that an organization called Global White Lion Trust began to successfully reintroduce them (total of 9) back to the wild. One lion requires 1000 hectares to successfully live. No zoo can provide this type of territory. There are only 500 white lions in existence. Sadly one more has been removed. Ottawa and the province need a clear policy for the same handling of wild animals in the city and surroundings. Last year a moose was shot and killed in downtown Ottawa. We have much to learn.

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