Muskingum County authorities have now killed 48 of more than 50 animals set loose in Ohio by a private farm owner Terry Thompson, 61, who later shot and killed himself.
Wildlife expert Jack Hanna has told the media that the scene from the eastern Ohio farm was like Noah's Ark wrecking. He told ABC News' Diane Sawyer that police had no choice but to kill the animals.
I'm sorry to say, but what the sheriff did had to be done, Hanna said. Otherwise, we would have had carnage out here in Zanesville, Ohio.
Hanna said it was probably the worst thing he has seen in 45 years of working with animals.
I've seen poachers kill in the wild, he said. I've seen animals killed right in front of me with their horns cut off. I've seen a lot of things happen in my career, but nothing like this have I ever witnessed.
The rural area near Zanesville became a killing zone on Tuesday evening and much of Wednesday as authorities sought out the exotic, yet dangerous animals they had to shoot to kill in order to keep the community safe. The animals included 12 lions, eight bears and 18 endangered Bengal tigers.
Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz on Wednesday said they were still searching for a macaque monkey and a gray wolf. He said that zoo staffers came to the Zanesville property, located about 55 miles east of Columbus, after Thompson took his life on Tuesday.
The investigator theorize that Thompson opened the animals' cages before his apparant suicide.
Authroities tried to tranquilize some of the animals but their efforts were futile.
Lutz said on Wednesday a veterinarian tried to tranquilize a 300-pound tiger and This thing just went crazy. It started to run into the wooded area and our officers took it down.
Hanna told Sawyer that tranquilizing wild animals isn't easy.
Can you imagine trying to tranquilize an animal in the dark? he said, according to ABC News. Fine, we have a spotlight. We hit it. You don't know exactly: Did you hit a muscle? Did you hit a bone? If you hit the bone, the plunger might not work and put the medicine in. So what do we do? Then we send a veterinarian or the sheriff up there to see if the animal is down, right? What's gonna happen if the animal is just sitting there not even asleep? You're dead.
When the animals were released this week, nearby schools were shut down. Travelers on a nearby highway were also warned to proceed with caution, as signs were posted that read Caution Exotic Animals.
Reports are that authorities have said they have answered many calls regarding the 73-acre property over the years. Those calls included reports of animal cruelty.
Bloomberg has reported that Ohio officials are considering regulations on exotic and wild pets. It reported that former Gov. Ted Strickland issued an executive order banning the keeping of such animals before leaving office in January. However, it expired under Gov. John Kasich.