Forty-Nine Exotic Animals Killed in Ohio
Authorities said that the preserve owner shot himself and sustained a bite wound to the head
After a terrifying day, Zanesville, Ohio, will attempt to regain a sense of normalcy.
All of the escaped exotic animals from Terry Thompson’s farm have been accounted for, authorities confirmed at a Thursday morning press conference, and the active search has ended.
Out of 56 animals, 49 were killed and buried on the property. Three leopards, a grizzly bear and two monkeys were captured alive and have been relocated to the Columbus Zoo.
One monkey, which had previously been unaccounted for, is believed to have been eaten by a lion or tiger.
Thompson, 62, released the animals Tuesday night before killing himself. He appears to have died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Preliminary autopsy findings show that he also sustained a bite wound to his head from a big cat seconds after he shot himself. RELATED: Exotic Animals on the Loose in Ohio Being Contained
“It’s been chaotic, like a war zone,” Zanesville resident Sam Kopchak told the Zanesville Times Recorder. “I hate to see any animal be killed, but I don’t think the deputies had any other choice.”
Officials said that the safety of the public was paramount, which is why, as darkness fell on Tuesday and wild animals roamed at large, police officers, who do not normally carry tranquilizer darts, had to shoot and kill the animals.
Of the six live animals that were captured alive, Muskingum County Sheriff Matthew Lutz said that they are eating and active. Thompson’s wife has been invited by Jack Hanna, director emeritus of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, to visit the animals.
There have been no reports of property damage or injuries related to the escaped animals.
Hanna told CNN’s The Situation Room, “To have no one hurt or killed here with 40-something animals getting loose is unbelievable.”