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-   -   Tigers, Lions and Bears Oh My (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=794038)

obbn 05-25-2016 10:03 PM

Tigers, Lions and Bears Oh My
 
Hello Everyone,

I've seen a bunch of videos of people playing with baby Lions, tigers and such. As these animals grow older can the people that raised then still do things like cuddle with them and play with them? Or will they get mailed?

TriPolar 05-25-2016 10:21 PM

It's often both. Remember Siegfried or Roy? (I don't know which one was mauled) People in close contact with dangerous animals often get injured, or killed.

Spiderman 05-25-2016 10:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by obbn (Post 19358360)
Hello Everyone,

I've seen a bunch of videos of people playing with baby Lions, tigers and such. As these animals grow older can the people that raised then still do things like cuddle with them and play with them? Or will they get mailed?

Nah, they don't know about stamps.


As for mauled, well, there's a reason they're called wild animals. The next time it happens won't be the first.

Duckster 05-25-2016 10:25 PM

Christian the Lion

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQhUNKjUwB8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fl1y9IOHof8

TriPolar 05-25-2016 10:37 PM

Wonderful story.

BTW: Read the story of Boy the lion mentioned in your wiki link.

Stinky Pete 05-25-2016 11:25 PM

You never know
 
Lions, tigers, bears, monkeys, apes, wolves, and more. Even if raised among humans completely in a friendly environment from birth, there is always a chance they will attack and maul/kill a human. Doesn't matter if they've had a long history of gentle behavior. And what triggers these domesticated wild animals to attack is not always apparent. (I guess domesticated is the wrong word to use).

Our normally domestic animals like dogs, cats, cows, horses, chickens, pigs, etc have had many generations of the wildness bred out of them. These animals can be raised to be completely safe to be around (unless provoked).

Senegoid 05-25-2016 11:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Stinky Pete (Post 19358513)
Lions, tigers, bears, monkeys, apes, wolves, and more. Even if raised among humans completely in a friendly environment from birth, there is always a chance they will attack and maul/kill a human. Doesn't matter if they've had a long history of gentle behavior.

Perfectly docile, tame, domesticated humans occasionally go berserk and maul other humans. Are there any comparative statistics to compare the danger of "tame" wild animals with the danger of "tame" humans?

I think I'd feel a bit safer with a "tame" lion than a tiger. Lions, unlike most big cats, are somewhat social critters. I suspect that a lion would be more likely to recognize humans as "family" if it grew up with them. Like that story about Christian the Lion. I would not expect a tiger or most other big cats to behave like that. (ETA: There's another big cat that, I've read, is relatively benign towards humans -- but I don't remember which one. Jaguar? Anybody know?)

Remember Travis the Chimp, the domesticated chimp who went berserk and chewed someone's face and fingers off? That's not "supposed" to happen, but now everyone is really worried about people keeping chimps. The fact was, as I recall, Travis had been fed Xanax, and was very possibly (I speculate) having Xanax withdrawal trouble at the time. Based on my personal experience with the similar drug Klonopin, I'd have chewed someone's face off too.

Flyer 05-26-2016 02:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Senegoid (Post 19358526)
I think I'd feel a bit safer with a "tame" lion than a tiger. Lions, unlike most big cats, are somewhat social critters. I suspect that a lion would be more likely to recognize humans as "family" if it grew up with them. Like that story about Christian the Lion. I would not expect a tiger or most other big cats to behave like that. (ETA: There's another big cat that, I've read, is relatively benign towards humans -- but I don't remember which one. Jaguar? Anybody know?)

You're most likely thinking of cheetahs.
Quote:

Most animals, including big cats, can be trained to some extent, but cheetahs tend to have a comparatively tamer temperament than the others, largely due to their anatomy, said Dr. Laurie Marker, a world-class cheetah expert who founded the Cheetah Conservation Fund in Namibia.
http://bunewsservice.com/can-you-tra...o-be-your-pet/

Stinky Pete 05-26-2016 02:50 AM

Tamed wild animals
 
The article you site says, "Most animals, including big cats, can be trained to some extent, but cheetahs tend to have a comparatively tamer temperament than the others"

Okay, that sounds good, but then later in the same article it says, “You can never assume that because a wild animal has received training, even extensive training, it is somehow now “safe” for humans to engage with”

Keeve 05-26-2016 06:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Stinky Pete (Post 19358723)
The article you site says, "Most animals, including big cats, can be trained to some extent, but cheetahs tend to have a comparatively tamer temperament than the others"

Okay, that sounds good, but then later in the same article it says, “You can never assume that because a wild animal has received training, even extensive training, it is somehow now “safe” for humans to engage with”

Did it really sound so good? Watch out for words like some extent, and comparatively.

Machine Elf 05-26-2016 07:56 AM

In the bear department, we have Mark Dumas, who has been a companion to a polar bear since it was six weeks old.

This is the dictionary definition of trust.

Chihuahua 05-26-2016 08:21 AM

I once saw a documentary about a tiger keeper who continued to play with his tigers even when they were adult. That said, his "play" was purposeful in that he put great effort into maintaining a position of superiority and control over the animal. It is NOT without risk and NOT something to be done by amateurs.

I recall another anecdote from a woman who kept wolves. She treated them much like we would treat dogs. One day she tripped in the kitchen and fell down. She immediately got to her feet and started beating the shit out of the wolves. Even though she had raised them, she could not afford to let them see her as "weak" or they might attack her and attempt to claim superiority. This is the kind of mentality you are dealing with when you try to raise dangerous animals.

Boyo Jim 05-26-2016 10:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chihuahua (Post 19358964)
... I recall another anecdote from a woman who kept wolves. She treated them much like we would treat dogs. One day she tripped in the kitchen and fell down. She immediately got to her feet and started beating the shit out of the wolves. Even though she had raised them, she could not afford to let them see her as "weak" or they might attack her and attempt to claim superiority. This is the kind of mentality you are dealing with when you try to raise dangerous animals.

I wouldn't know, but perhaps it's the kind of mentality you are dealing with with batshit crazy animal trainers.

Annie-Xmas 05-26-2016 10:30 AM

Read about Travis the chimpanzee who attacked a woman, ripping off her face and damaging her hands.

And Daine Whipple mauled to death by a dog, and then the batshit crazy owners blamed HER.

watchwolf49 05-26-2016 10:47 AM

Don't try this at home, folks ...

Chihuahua 05-26-2016 11:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Annie-Xmas (Post 19359322)
Read about Travis the chimpanzee who attacked a woman, ripping off her face and damaging her hands.

And Daine Whipple mauled to death by a dog, and then the batshit crazy owners blamed HER.

Speaking of blaming the victim...

Lemur866 05-26-2016 11:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Boyo Jim (Post 19359275)
I wouldn't know, but perhaps it's the kind of mentality you are dealing with with batshit crazy animal trainers.

Right. Thing is, you have to be a bit goofy in the first place to own a dangerous wild animal as a pet. A really sane well-adjusted person would get a dog or a cat or a horse. So there's already something guaranteed to be wrong with you if you think having a tiger for a pet is a good idea.

Blue Blistering Barnacle 05-26-2016 12:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Stinky Pete (Post 19358513)
Lions, tigers, bears, monkeys, apes, wolves, and more. Even if raised among humans completely in a friendly environment from birth, there is always a chance they will attack and maul/kill a human. Doesn't matter if they've had a long history of gentle behavior. And what triggers these domesticated wild animals to attack is not always apparent. (I guess domesticated is the wrong word to use).

Our normally domestic animals like dogs, cats, cows, horses, chickens, pigs, etc have had many generations of the wildness bred out of them. These animals can be raised to be completely safe to be around (unless provoked).

Wild animals can be "tamed". Domesticated animals are just generally more tractable and responsive to training; they are born "tamer". Compare zebra and horses.

Any animal (including humans, as noted upthread) can be capable of injuring humans. Larger ones more so than smaller, just because.

From my reading about horses when my daughter started riding (much of it on SDMB), people who work with large animal livestock (ya know, the domesticated ones) pretty much accept that they will be physically hurt by their animals from time to time ("not so much if, but when").

I'm guessing that the addition of pointy teeth and predatory instincts don't make animals safer to be around.

Now for my anecdote, relayed to me by a keeper at a zoo I used to hang out at when I was young. A male tiger kept there had been raised from cubhood by a bigwig at the zoo. Although he would no longer play with the adult male, he would reach through the bars from time to time to stroke his head, and this was received affectionately. One time he did this after an adult female had been enclosed with him (for a mating opportunity). He supposed it was safe, as she was on the other side of the enclosure, but she jumped clear across the enclosure (which was rather small by modern standards, but still a fair distance) and grabbed his arm, severely mauling it.

Sailboat 05-26-2016 12:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Annie-Xmas (Post 19359322)
And Daine Whipple mauled to death by a dog, and then the batshit crazy owners blamed HER.

Well, the Whipple death is different. The dogs, although nominally considered domesticated animals, were probably more dangerous than simple wild animals.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Wikipedia
The dogs' actual owner, Paul Schneider, was a high-ranking member of the prison gang the Aryan Brotherhood who was serving a life sentence in Pelican Bay State Prison. Schneider and his cellmate Dale Bretches were attempting to start an illegal Presa Canario dog-fighting business from prison. They initially asked acquaintances Janet Coumbs and Hard Times Kennel owner/breeder James Kolber of Akron, Ohio to raise the dogs during their incarceration. Against Kolber's advice, Coumbs chained the dogs in a remote corner of the farm, which caused them to become even more aggressive. After Coumbs fell out of favor with Schneider,[4] attorneys Noel and Knoller agreed to take possession of the dogs. They had become acquainted with Schneider while doing legal work for prisoners, and had adopted Schneider (then age 38) as their legal son a few days before the mauling. Bane, the larger of the dogs, weighed 140 pounds (64 kg).[5]

Note that news articles at the time estimated Bane's weight at 123 pounds. Dogs typically get larger as the news cycle matures.

In addition to chaining the dogs away from human company (which no doubt had the effect of further alienating them from humans), Coumbs completely lost control of the dogs:

Source: SFGate.com article

Quote:

...Coumbs was in over her head.

At first, Coumbs had been intrigued by the idea of raising dogs. "They told me, if you got these dogs, we would pay you and you could support yourself," she recalled. In return, she said, the inmates would watch the animals grow through photos and draw pictures.

But the four dogs started to run amok on her property, at one point ripping apart her trailer. "She definitely didn't know what was going on with the dogs, " Kolber said. "I told her they are highly independent, strong-willed dogs, not for everyone."

"I didn't know what I had gotten into," recalled Coumbs, who says she lives on disability with her 20-year-old daughter on a small farm with a pond and a creek. "It was a scam from the start."
Quote:

In May 1999, Bane and his sister, Isis, had 10 puppies.

But the inmates became unhappy when she told them that six of the puppies were killed by their mother. Coumbs complained that the dogs had eaten her chickens, her sheep and her daughter's pet cat.
So these dogs were purchased by the Aryan Brotherhood to fight, brutalized and ignored by an incompetent caretaker, and then taken in by lawyers who admired the imprisoned murderer who organized the dogfighting ring. Talk about a scenario set up for failure.

Annie-Xmas 05-26-2016 01:10 PM

Let's not forget that Diane Whipple was a lesbian, which the dog's owners argued contributed to her death.

xizor 05-26-2016 01:12 PM

There was a TV series a few years back that documented lots of the cases already mentioned in this thread. I remember the episode on Travis the chimp where they played the 9-1-1 call and you can hear the animal going nuts in the background.
Chimps and tigers seemed to be the most often portrayed pets that turned on their owners on that show.

Bert Nobbins 05-26-2016 02:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Stinky Pete (Post 19358513)
Our normally domestic animals like dogs, cats, cows, horses, chickens, pigs, etc have had many generations of the wildness bred out of them. These animals can be raised to be completely safe to be around (unless provoked).

I think that's a bit complacent. People get killed by cows (trampling) and get kicked by horses. Farm pigs can be very dangerous.

Even a domestic cat bite can kill you if you don't have access to antibiotics.

mmmiiikkkeee 05-26-2016 03:20 PM

It helps to distinguish tamed animals and domesticated animals. And there isn't a single answer as it depends on what kind of animal it is, the characteristics that particular animal has, and which human it's interacting with under what circumstances. The animals mentioned in the OP (Lions/Tigers/Bears) are not domesticated, even if born in captivity. And the type of human conditioning they receive can also vary; they can be tamed, trained, habituated, socialized... all of which mean different things and would give different results.

You'll never be "safe" around a fully domesticated fighting bull that sees humans every day if it's life; domesticated isn't the same as tame. You might be ok around a lion cub you raised and performed with it's whole life... if you're the trainer or near the trainer, so wild animals can be tamed. But, I wouldn't get out of the car if that lion cub spent most of it's life in a game reserve conditioned to seeing humans daily yet made a living hunting and fending for it's self as other lions do.

DrDeth 05-26-2016 04:14 PM

Let as say you have achieved domesticity in your pet lion. He's your pal.

I dunno about you, but once in a while, when I snip one of my cats claws too close, or rub their tummy wrong, they swipe or grab, resulting in a couple bandaids. If instead it's Leo, it results in a ER visit or your death.

Xema 05-26-2016 06:43 PM

Yes - from a large carnivore even a mild swipe or nip, delivered with playful intention, could be deadly.

Turble 05-27-2016 10:51 AM

Anecdotes:

I have known two people who kept pet ocelots. Both of them required a couple hundred stitches before getting rid of their pets.

I also knew a caretaker of Sigfreid and Roy's tigers who was seriously injured by one of their animals years before Roy was mutilated by one.

flatlined 05-28-2016 08:14 PM

I've been doing cat rescue for longer than I'd like to admit. Domestic house cats, little fluffy animals, not lions or tigers. I rarely handle an unknown cat without gloves and long sleeves because while they might be small, they have lots of pointy ends and are twisty and bendy. Feral cats get even more respect/fear. The only time I touch them is when they have been drugged into submission.

If a little housecat can kick my butt without breaking a sweat, I certainly wouldn't trust a "tame" lion or tiger.

TubaDiva 05-28-2016 11:53 PM

Cecil Sez:

Quote:

As you might deduce, therefore, the word on keeping chimps as pets is a big negatory. Chimpanzees can never be fully domesticated; they're aggressive by nature and sooner or later they'll start to threaten their keepers in subtle ape ways that the untrained eye won't recognize, until one day — blammo.
Emphasis mine.

http://www.straightdope.com/columns/...full-grown-man

DrDeth 05-29-2016 12:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by flatlined (Post 19365057)
I've been doing cat rescue for longer than I'd like to admit. Domestic house cats, little fluffy animals, not lions or tigers. I rarely handle an unknown cat without gloves and long sleeves because while they might be small, they have lots of pointy ends and are twisty and bendy. Feral cats get even more respect/fear. The only time I touch them is when they have been drugged into submission.

If a little housecat can kick my butt without breaking a sweat, I certainly wouldn't trust a "tame" lion or tiger.

I dunno about "kicking my butt" but a lot of bandaids have been used....:p

mmmiiikkkeee 05-30-2016 11:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TubaDiva (Post 19365371)

I watched an interview with Doug Seus (a well-know and very good Hollywood animal actor trainer who works with all sorts of dangerous animals) where he described the subtle body language and cues that his grizzly bears used when getting pushy. It does seem like there's a lot of knowledge and observation required to be safe around dangerous animals... techniques and expertise most people simply don't have or even know exists.

It's not just the size, claws/teeth, aggression, etc that makes an animal dangerous; it's the human's lack of being able to read the situation and how particular species show signs of what's building up.

jtur88 05-30-2016 11:39 AM

Even Pit Bulls and the like, which are of an entirely domesticated species, may kill more people than all the "wild animals" in captivity together. You cannot predict the behavior of an animal. In 1900, the number of people killed by horses may have larger per capita than those killed by automobiles today. I have no citation, but people in that era had to be constantly vigilant of the danger of horses on city streets and the countryside.

Irishman 05-31-2016 08:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DrDeth (Post 19360298)
I dunno about you, but once in a while, when I snip one of my cats claws too close, or rub their tummy wrong, they swipe or grab, resulting in a couple bandaids. If instead it's Leo, it results in a ER visit or your death.

I have known several cats, from a couple we had as kids, a couple my mom has had over the years, and a couple that friends kept. Every one of those cats, no matter how loving or permissive - and my sister's cat let us dress her in a doll's dress a few times - at some point got pissed off and expressed itself with claws and teeth.

House cats tend to use teeth and forelimbs to get a solid grip, then employ their hind legs in a raking fashion, as if to disembowel their victim. Said victim being my arm.

And that's house cats. No way a full grown tiger or lion is going to always be in a good mood. Where a house cat might give a nip of displeasure, from an adult lion or tiger that's going to be severe. Full out drawing blood attacks happen, too.

Annie-Xmas 06-01-2016 09:43 AM

I still have four puncture wound scars from a childhood pet cat who dug his teeth his teeth into my arm and wouldn't let go until I submerged him in water.

Haldurson 06-01-2016 10:28 AM

One should not trust anecdotes, except as single data points. There are wild animals that lived full lives as pets, and have never killed their owners, and others that have killed them, or attacked them. If anecdotes are your only data, then you have to accept that "Wild Animal behavior is not totally predictable". Even so-called gentle animals like Gorillas and Elephants and Dolphins have been known to attack people. Heck, Dolphins are like the low-lifes of the animal kingdom and have been seen acting as a team to separate females from a herd (or whatever they are called) to have non-consensual sex with them (ie. rape).

On the other side, though, there are certainly stories of wild animals exercising their 'maternal instincts' to protect a child that somehow found its way into the gorilla enclosure at the zoo. I don't think that anyone seriously wants their child to fall into the gorilla cage of a zoo, nor would they trust (and rightfully so) the safety of their child to any wild animal. So let's just (for now) peg this up to the unpredictability of wild animals.

TokyoBayer 06-01-2016 11:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Blue Blistering Barnacle (Post 19359606)
Wild animals can be "tamed". Domesticated animals are just generally more tractable and responsive to training; they are born "tamer". Compare zebra and horses.

Actually, zebras and wild horses are different from the get go. See Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond who makes the point that Africa had the unfortunate luck of having zebras, which can't be domesticated.

CannyDan 06-01-2016 12:00 PM

I knew a guy once who had a pair of zebras that he trained to drive. (In equestrian-ese that means pull a cart or something, as a team of horses pulled a stagecoach.) He used to drive them around the farm occasionally. Even more occasionally he would let a passenger or two join him on the cart. The zebras were not very reliable and "a good drive" consisted of a short out-and-back with no runaways and no bucking and no cart overturning.

One of the two would also tolerate a saddle and a rider, sometimes. And for variable iterations of "for a short time".

But these were essentially wild animals. I'm sure they were both captive born. But I'm also sure that only a handful of generations separated them from the savannahs of Africa. I really do not know what might result if zebras were subjected to a rigorous selective breeding program with only the most tractable 1% bred to produce the next generation. Given a forced generation time of only 3 or 4 years (enough time to breed a foal, produce it, raise it enough to make a selection for next breeding, then repeat) it would surely be a long term experiment that might not show significant results in a human lifetime. But all animals we now consider domesticated have been subjected to selection for a lot longer than a human lifetime. So my jury is still out on zebras.

Bert Nobbins 06-01-2016 01:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CannyDan (Post 19372530)
I knew a guy once who had a pair of zebras that he trained to drive. (In equestrian-ese that means pull a cart or something, as a team of horses pulled a stagecoach.) He used to drive them around the farm occasionally. Even more occasionally he would let a passenger or two join him on the cart. The zebras were not very reliable and "a good drive" consisted of a short out-and-back with no runaways and no bucking and no cart overturning.

One of the two would also tolerate a saddle and a rider, sometimes. And for variable iterations of "for a short time".
So my jury is still out on zebras.

See http://www.douglas-self.com/MUSEUM/POWER/dog/dog.htm for an example of zebras driven four-in-hand.

CannyDan 06-01-2016 03:56 PM

OMG! Four-in-hand zebras! Superlative points to "Mr Hardy".

Malthus 06-01-2016 04:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Annie-Xmas (Post 19359766)
Let's not forget that Diane Whipple was a lesbian, which the dog's owners argued contributed to her death.

That seems like an utterly bizarre argument. Were the dogs allegedly homophobic or something?

I can't even imagine how the victim's sexual orientation could possibly be relevant to a dog attack.

TriPolar 06-01-2016 05:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Malthus (Post 19373136)
That seems like an utterly bizarre argument. Were the dogs allegedly homophobic or something?

I can't even imagine how the victim's sexual orientation could possibly be relevant to a dog attack.

The guy was a nut case, anti-everybody type.

Wallaby 06-01-2016 07:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by flatlined (Post 19365057)
I've been doing cat rescue for longer than I'd like to admit. Domestic house cats, little fluffy animals, not lions or tigers. I rarely handle an unknown cat without gloves and long sleeves because while they might be small, they have lots of pointy ends and are twisty and bendy. Feral cats get even more respect/fear. The only time I touch them is when they have been drugged into submission.

If a little housecat can kick my butt without breaking a sweat, I certainly wouldn't trust a "tame" lion or tiger.


For those who haven't seen it - (nothing gory - just funny).

Pinky the Cat

t-bonham@scc.net 06-01-2016 11:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CannyDan (Post 19372530)
I really do not know what might result if zebras were subjected to a rigorous selective breeding program with only the most tractable 1% bred to produce the next generation. Given a forced generation time of only 3 or 4 years (enough time to breed a foal, produce it, raise it enough to make a selection for next breeding, then repeat) it would surely be a long term experiment that might not show significant results in a human lifetime. But all animals we now consider domesticated have been subjected to selection for a lot longer than a human lifetime. So my jury is still out on zebras.

And it would be an expensive & pretty pointless experiment, because AFAIK horses are better than zebras for every task we have for horses.

There are draft breeds for pulling large wagons, thoroughbreds for racing, jumpers for jumping, hunters for cross-country eventing & fox hunting, fancy show breeds, and even minis for house pets. These breeds have been bred for centuries for specialized tasks, and are quite well suited. I don't know of anything that zebras could do better. Possibly hiding in tall grass savannas, but that isn't something humans prize much.

CannyDan 06-02-2016 02:41 AM

Pointless, I agree. I wasn't advocating for it. I was reacting to the declaration that zebras "can't be domesticated".

TokyoBayer 06-02-2016 02:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CannyDan (Post 19372530)
So my jury is still out on zebras.

It's been several years since I read Jared's book, but if you have something which can definitively
rebut his expert opinion, I'd love to hear it.

Blue Blistering Barnacle 06-02-2016 07:24 AM

I believe that in G,G,&S, Jared Diamond used horses and zebras to specifically point out the differences between "domesticable" and "tameable", despite otherwise close comparisons morphologically and in social structure. IIRC, he also cited several unsuccessful attempts to domesticate zebras in recent centuries.

Xema 06-02-2016 08:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bert Nobbins (Post 19372745)
See http://www.douglas-self.com/MUSEUM/POWER/dog/dog.htm for an example of zebras driven four-in-hand.

Interesting.

I also like the picture with this caption:
Quote:

A half-grown lion cub pulls a cart full of children at Luna Park Zoo in America circa 1930. Attempting this with a full-grown lion would be inadvisable.

CannyDan 06-02-2016 12:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TokyoBayer (Post 19374103)
It's been several years since I read Jared's book, but if you have something which can definitively rebut his expert opinion, I'd love to hear it.

No, I make no such claim. My former wife rode and trained horses to a high level of performance, even bred a few, and I was intimately involved in her hobby/business for a couple of decades. I work professionally with wild animals. So I believe I have some applicable background, although not enough to consider my own word to be authoritative. Still, I’m comfortable saying that the “it can’t be done because it hasn’t been done” argument doesn’t totally satisfy me.

I wasn’t speaking of training any single animal to a specific and reliable level of performance that would make a zebra comparable to a horse. That does appear to be, if not impossible, at least approaching it. Instead though I was speaking of a lengthy program of selective breeding for tractability (and any other desirable traits that could be augmented by selection while not compromising the primary goal of tractability). I don’t believe this has ever been done. And so I can speculate that it might be – in fact it should be – successful.

Why has the zebra never been domesticated in such a manner by any of the indigenous peoples living alongside zebras? Again I’ll speculate. To do so would require a stable society with a surplus of resources and an ability to sacrifice short term benefit to long term goals. A herd of captive zebras, undomesticated but fenced, could supply meat to the tribe all year long. This might arguably be benefit enough, and could eventually result in domesticated zebras. But one major problem would be providing food for the herd. So the tribe would need to grow or collect and transport sufficient browse for the herd, or the tribe would need to become nomadic herders. That might be problem enough to end any such attempt. The additional problems inherent in simply keeping the zebra herd confined or under constant control with limited manpower and subject to apex zebra predators including lions, leopards, and hyenas seem virtually insurmountable to me. At least, not worth the effort when wild zebras are seasonally available for hunting.

Add a requirement that individual zebras be identified and rated for tractability (or other desirable trait). Now only certain individuals should be bred to certain other individuals. And their offspring must be kept separate from the zebras that are necessarily butchered for meat, and themselves propagated in turn. And this effort has to be maintained over a period of at least decades if not longer. Never interrupted by a need to eat the “special ones” during a famine. No loss of the herd to wildfire, drought, or predator attack. No war with another tribe, or any of the countless other possible events that would set the entire breeding program back to square one.

Given the difficulties inherent in having “a stable society with a surplus of resources and an ability to sacrifice short term benefit to long term goals”, the conditions necessary for a long term breeding program might never have existed.

DudeManBro 06-02-2016 03:37 PM

I have heard of cheetahs being kept in the United Emirates. When one of them gets out of hand (biting or scratching) the owner smacks it around a bit to discipline.

Getting mauled by a cheetah with its blunted semi-retractable claws and relatively light jaws/ dentition is much more survivable than being mauled by any of the other big cats IMO. If you maintain dominance and watch it around children and the elderly, it could probably be kept.

MacLir 06-06-2016 06:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Stinky Pete (Post 19358513)
Lions, tigers, bears, monkeys, apes, wolves, and more. Even if raised among humans completely in a friendly environment from birth, there is always a chance they will attack and maul/kill a human. Doesn't matter if they've had a long history of gentle behavior. And what triggers these domesticated wild animals to attack is not always apparent. (I guess domesticated is the wrong word to use).

Our normally domestic animals like dogs, cats, cows, horses, chickens, pigs, etc have had many generations of the wildness bred out of them. These animals can be raised to be completely safe to be around (unless provoked).

This says it all about domestication

MacLir 06-06-2016 06:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by t-bonham@scc.net (Post 19373899)
And it would be an expensive & pretty pointless experiment, because AFAIK horses are better than zebras for every task we have for horses.

There are draft breeds for pulling large wagons, thoroughbreds for racing, jumpers for jumping, hunters for cross-country eventing & fox hunting, fancy show breeds, and even minis for house pets. These breeds have been bred for centuries for specialized tasks, and are quite well suited. I don't know of anything that zebras could do better. Possibly hiding in tall grass savannas, but that isn't something humans prize much.

They are immune to several diseases that limit the use of livestock in Africa. The experiment was tried and failed, according to my information.


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