Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Human influence not ruled out in fatal tiger attack in California

Human influence not ruled out in fatal tiger attack in California

The big cat exhibit at the San Francisco Zoo was cordoned off as a crime scene as investigators tried to determine whether a Siberian tiger that killed a visitor escaped from its high-walled pen on its own or got help from someone, inadvertent or otherwise.
Police shot the 135-kilogram animal to death after a Christmas Day rampage that began when the tiger escaped from an enclosure surrounded by what zoo officials said are an 5.5-meter wall and a 6-meter moat. Two brothers who also were visiting the zoo were severely mauled.
Police Chief Heather Fong said the department has opened a criminal investigation to "determine if there was human involvement in the tiger getting out or if the tiger was able to get out on its own."
Police said they have not ruled anything out, including whether the escape was the result of carelessness or a deliberate act.
Fong said officers were gathering evidence from the tiger's enclosure as well as accounts from witnesses and others.
One zoo official insisted the tiger did not get out through an open door and must have climbed or leaped out. But Jack Hanna, former director of the Columbus Zoo and a frequent guest on TV, said such a leap would be an unbelievable feat, and "virtually impossible."
"There's something going on here. It just doesn't feel right to me," he said. "It just doesn't add up to me."
Instead, he speculated that visitors might have been fooling around and might have taunted the animal and perhaps even helped it get out by, say, putting a board in the moat.
Ron Magill, a spokesman at the Miami Metro Zoo, said it is unlikely a zoo tiger could make such a leap, even with a running start.
"Captive tigers aren't nearly in the kind of shape that wild tigers have to be in to survive," he said. He said taunting can definitely make an animal more aggressive, but "whether it makes it more likely to get out of an exhibit is purely speculative."
The police chief would not comment on whether the animal was taunted.
Sy Montgomery, a naturalist and author whose books include "Spell of the Tiger," said she thinks such a jump is possible. Not every tiger could do it, she said, "but like human beings, every creature has its own amazing athletes."
The same tiger, a 4-year-old female named Tatiana, ripped the flesh off a zookeeper's arm just before Christmas a year ago while the woman was feeding the animal through the bars. A state investigation faulted the zoo, which installed better equipment at the Lion House, where the big cats are kept.
Zoo director Manuel Mollinedo said Wednesday that he gave no thought to destroying Tatiana after the 2006 incident, because "the tiger was acting as a normal tiger does." As for whether Tatiana showed any warning signs before Tuesday's attack, Mollinedo said: "She seemed to be very well-adjusted into that exhibit."


Updated : 2021-08-02 17:30 GMT+08:00