A committee will soon work to put a wild animal release plan in place.
A dangerous wild animal response committee is being formed in Muskingum County. It brings together law enforcement, health officials, veterinarians and others to help create a plan for the county to follow in the event of an animal release.
The committee members must meet approval by county commissioners and the state before work can begin on an emergency plan.
"Hopefully by then the State plan will already be written we will basically follow it and add to it for our area," said EMA Director Bo Keck. "We’ll be able to add the Wilds and the Columbus Zoo, people that we used and build the plan from there."
Keck said he’s spoken to other EMA’s throughout the state and said officials shouldn’t get caught up on the Wild aspect of it.
"My feelings is all our plans are about the same," said Keck. "I mean our jobs is a support agency for the other agencies out there. So, we do the same thing no matter what’s going on out over the hill and whether it’s a flood, tornado, wild animal release, whatever our job is to coordinate and to get resources for that event."
Keck believes it’s unlikely that we’ll ever see a wild animal release like the one here in Muskingum County in 2011. Currently, there are ten wild animals registered with the state. The list includes a black bear, brown bear, four leopards, a lynx and two Celebes Crested Macaque.
Here’s a list of other counties in our area with exotic animals.
Coshocton County: No wild animals registered
Fairfield County: One animal registered
Guernsey County: One black bear registered, other animals are those at the Wilds
Licking County: 25 exotic animals registered
Noble County: No exotics registered
Perry County: 5 exotic animals registered