Animal Escape Protocol

Escaped Tiger Running In the event of a dangerous animal escape, the immediate goals are

1.) Insure public safety,

2.) Insure staff safety,

3.) Insure animal safety and

4.) Recapture the animal.

All four goals should be accomplished simultaneously.  It is of utmost importance that everyone involved in the recapture remain calm and not try to be a hero.


In the event of an animal escape;

1.  If an animal escapes within the walkway or the perimeter of the security fence,   secure  all perimeter gates.

2.  Leave cage door open if there are no other animals in the cage.

3.  Always use a broom or similar instrument to keep animal back.  Do not crowd the animal.

4.  If animal escapes the confines of the perimeter fence follow the animal but don’t crowd it.


Gun Cabinet;

1.  Locate the gun(s).

2.  When using the emergency knockdown drugs, refer to the recommended dosage on the bottle for the escaped specimen.  A dart rifle or net gun would be the first options if a cat escaped the property, but it should be noted that sedation drugs usually take 20 minutes to work, even in a calm cat who was just napping a few minutes earlier.  In a cat who has escaped, and who has adrenalin pumping through their veins, sedation is very unlikely to work, but should be tried first if at all possible.

3.  If the animal escapes the confines of the property, and is dangerous or a large carnivore, who cannot be sedated then we have to use a rifle to kill the animal.  It is the law.  We cannot allow a dangerous cat to escape into our community where a person could be injured or killed.

4.  In the event of an escape from the property, it is better to follow the animal and send someone else for the dart gun and firearm.


To kill or not to kill

There are two reasons to kill the animal;

1.  Human injury or loss of life is of immediate concern.  Do not wait until someone is attacked before making the decision.

2. The animal in question is a carnivore and its’ escape from the confines of the property is imminent with no opportunity to sedate.


The Shooter

1.  If possible, the shooter should remain in a vehicle when approaching the animal.

2.  Make certain that you have a good clean shot, know what is in front of and behind the target.

3.  Unless absolutely necessary, do not shoot the animal on the run.

4.  As a rule of thumb, use the rifle for animals smaller than a leopard.  All others use the 30-06.

5.  Shoot to kill.


Notification of Law Enforcement personnel;

1.  In the event of an escape from the confines of the property, in accordance withstate law, Wildlife Officials, and local police will be notified to inform them of the situation – not to request assistance.

2.  When they arrive, the police should be advised to secure the area to ensure the the safety of the general public.  Big Cat Rescue staff will handle the recapture of  the animal.

3.  In the event the staff is unable to keep site of the animal, armed law enforcement personnel may be utilized as spotters to aid in monitoring the animals location.

See Big Cat Rescue’s Disaster Plan

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