One monkey still at large from Ohio exotic farm
Published Wednesday, October 19, 2011 9:43PM EDT
All the escapees from an Ohio exotic animal farm with the exception of a monkey have been located, police said Wednesday.
Police warned the monkey may be infected with the herpes B virus.
The owner of the farm apparently set dozens of animals free before taking his own life on Tuesday.
School was cancelled and residents of nearby Zanesville, Ohio were told by police to stay indoors while armed officers tracked down the remaining animals.
Mountain lions, tigers, grizzly bears, wolves and orangutans were among the 56 animals that escaped from the Muskingum County Animal Farm on Tuesday.
At least 49 of those animals have been killed by police and wildlife officers who worked through the night, hunting the animals down, by Wednesday afternoon.
County Sheriff Matt Lutz told reporters that it appeared Muskingum County Animal Farm owner Terry Thompson, 62, opened the farm's cages and gates, then shot himself.
The preserve had Bengal tigers, lions, cheetahs, wolves, giraffes, camels, grizzly bears and monkeys.
Wildlife expert Jack Hanna, who was on the scene to help authorities recover the animals, told CTV's Canada AM police had little choice but to use deadly force overnight.
"We can't have bears and tigers and leopards running around in Muskingum County here, so they had to make the decision to obviously put the animals down because you cannot tranquilize an animal at night," Hanna said by phone.
"I know people are upset over it, obviously human life comes first, I'm upset about it too but you can't blame the sheriff, he did what he needed to do so people don't lose their lives."
The Muskingum County Animal Farm is located in Zanesville, Ohio, about 88 kilometres east of Columbus.
Residents were being warned Wednesday that animals were still on the loose and several school districts in the area cancelled classes to minimize the risk to students.
Flashing signs were placed along local highways warning drivers to stay in their vehicles due to the risk from the exotic animals.
There were no reports of any attacks, or of injuries to residents, but Lutz advised people to stay in their homes, and sent updates via Twitter.
"These are wild animals that you would see on TV in Africa," Lutz said at a press conference.
He said the animals at the farm are "mature, very big, aggressive."
Overnight Tuesday more than 50 law enforcement officials, including deputies, highway patrol officers, police officers and wildlife officers, patrolled the 40-acre farm and the surrounding areas in cars and trucks, often in rainy downpours.
Lutz said they were concerned about big cats and bears hiding in the dark and in trees.