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post #1 of 37 (permalink) Old 12-26-2007, 11:18 PM Thread Starter
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Poor kitty

I feel sorry for the tiger. Don't they have tranquilizer darts
in the zoo ?
Tiger-mauling probe looks at whether victim dangled leg
San Francisco police are investigating the possibility that one of the victims in the fatal tiger mauling on Christmas Day climbed over a waist-high gate and then dangled a leg or other body part over the edge of a moat that kept the big cat away from the public, sources close to the investigation said Wednesday.

The minimal evidence found at the scene included a shoe and blood in an area between the gate and the edge of the 25- to 30-foot-wide moat, raising questions about what role, if any, the victims might have had in accidentally helping the animal escape.

The three victims, all young men from San Jose, were visiting the zoo together. They were all present just outside the tiger's grotto when the tiger escaped, killed 17-year-old Carlos Sousa Jr. with a savage slash to the throat, and injured the other two. The names of the survivors, who are brothers ages 19 and 23, have not been released.

The injured victims fled, leaving a trail of blood, which police believe the tiger followed for 300 yards up a zoo pathway. As the tiger cornered and attacked one of the brothers, four police officers arrived, distracted the animal and shot it dead.

What followed were hours of confusion as police attempted to find other tigers that zookeepers believed might have escaped.

When police arrived at the zoo, they were hampered by a lack of emergency lights, video surveillance cameras and maps. They didn't know how many animals might be on the loose or how many victims might have been injured.

And although they found and killed the escaped tiger within minutes of their arrival, they had been told there might be another three tigers on the loose.

Zoo officials said they are trying to figure out how the 4-year-old Siberian tiger named Tatiana escaped from her enclosure shortly after the zoo's 5 p.m. closing time, during which there were still many visitors walking around the zoo. No doors to the grotto had been left ajar, they said. The animal is the same one that attacked a zookeeper almost exactly a year ago.

Police sources said a footprint had been found on a metal fence, suggesting that someone had climbed it to get closer to the big cats.

Zoo Director Manuel Mollinedo said it was also likely that the animal was provoked.

"Somebody created a situation that really agitated her and gave her some sort of a method to break out," Mollinedo said. "There is no possible way the cat could have made it out of there in a single leap. I would surmise that there was help.

"A couple of feet dangling over the edge could possibly have done it."

Sources said pinecones and sticks that were found in the moat might have been thrown at the animal. Those items could not have landed in the grotto naturally, they said.

However, police Sgt. Neville Gittens maintained that there was no reason to think that the victims were taunting the tiger.

The two survivors were in serious but stable condition Wednesday following surgery at San Francisco General Hospital, doctors said.

The zoo, which closed Wednesday, will remain shut today so that police could continue their investigation. Mollinedo said he hopes the zoo will reopen Friday, but the tigers and lions will not be on display for at least a week.

The hunt for the escaped tiger Tuesday was chaotic, with police and paramedics frantically scrambling through the 1,000-acre zoo grounds to locate victims after discovering Sousa's body.

There are no surveillance cameras pointed at the big cats' grottos, so officers could not find out from zoo guards what animal or animals had escaped. Initial calls for help didn't say what sort of animal had escaped, sources said. The lack of cameras also has made it difficult to ascertain how the attacks occurred.

Police said the investigation will focus on physical evidence collected at the zoo, witness statements, an autopsy of the victim and the necropsy of the tiger.

New cameras and a metal barrier will be installed to protect the public from the tigers and lions, Mollinedo said.

As darkness deepened Tuesday, officers found the zoo lighting was insufficient to illuminate the trees, foliage and public areas where they feared that more animals might be lurking or more victims might be found. Firefighters standing on tall ladders outside the zoo illuminated the grounds with portable lights to help the search.

"We didn't know how many tigers were out," Mollinedo said. "I (was) under the impression we had two or three cats escaping. There was a sense of paranoia around here."

Investigators canvassed the zoo for hours Wednesday morning before finally determining that nobody else had been hurt.

A Fire Department source said three paramedics found Sousa's body, with a wide gash across the neck, lying near the grotto. The enclosure is separated from the public by a 25- to 30-foot-wide moat - a trench that is 14 feet deep.

The paramedics and an ambulance driver were told of additional victims outside the Terrace Cafe restaurant, about 300 yards east. When they arrived, they found the tiger standing over one of the brothers.

The paramedics and driver were soon joined by the four police officers, who distracted the tiger with the red lights of their two patrol cars before shooting her to death with their .40-caliber handguns.

Gittens said the officers did not want to shoot the animal while she was sitting next to the victim.

"I can only imagine the patrons walking around, and suddenly seeing this tiger," he said. "It was probably surreal."

Police were treating the zoo as a crime scene Wednesday. Yellow police tape surrounded the area near the cafe where the animal was slain.

It's not known why the tiger singled out the three visitors or why she tracked down the two wounded victims, apparently ignoring other zoo patrons.

Rochelle Dicker, an emergency room surgeon at San Francisco General Hospital who operated on the victims, said Wednesday that the two survivors were recovering remarkably well. They were awake and stable, Dicker said.

Doctors are focusing on preventing infection from the bacteria that might be present in the men's wounds, she said. Those bacteria is similar to the type found in the common house cat, officials said.

The zoo was eerily quiet on the day after the tragedy. The cafe where the attack victims were found was shuttered and still, and a dozen police officers gathered with zoo officials nearby, poring over maps and handing out equipment. Zookeepers held a staff meeting and also met with grief counselors.

Visitors continued to filter up to the entrance, unaware of what had happened.

"Oh my gosh! I hadn't heard anything about a tiger," said one visitor, Komer Poodari of San Jose. "I guess we'll go to Fisherman's Wharf."

Mollinedo said the zoo has a response team armed with tranquilizers and firearms, but that the scene unfolded "so quickly that the officers found (Tatiana) first."

This is the second time in just over a year that this same tiger attacked a human.

On Dec. 22, 2006, Tatiana chewed the flesh off zookeeper Lori Komejan's arm in front of about 50 visitors lingering in the Lion House after the cats were fed. A state investigation later ruled that the zoo was at fault for the attack because of the way the cages were configured.

"There was never any consideration for putting her down. The tiger was acting like a normal tiger," Mollinedo said.

The public feeding demonstrations at the Lion House resumed in September after about $250,000 in safety upgrades. The city, which helps fund the zoo, has been sued by Komejan and is assessing whether it is liable for the Christmas Day mauling.

Mollinedo has brought in colleagues from other accredited zoos to do a thorough analysis of the big cat exhibits.

"We want to make sure they are safe and see what kind of modifications should be done to ensure the safety" of people and animals, he said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will "in most likelihood" investigate the zoo's tiger facility, said agency spokesman Jim Brownlee. Inspectors from the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, which oversees the nation's zoos, will "probably be on location very soon," Brownlee said Wednesday night. "We would look at the whole situation in a comprehensive manner," he said.

Keepers at other U.S. zoos said they were waiting for more details about the San Francisco attack before deciding whether to change their tiger enclosures or security procedures. Moats and sheer walls are common methods of protecting visitors from large animals at outdoor zoo exhibits.

"We still don't know what happened," said Tony Vecchio, director of the Oregon Zoo in Portland. "We know what animals can do and we build barriers that are taller and wider than that. But one of the rules in the zoo business is that animals will always surprise you."

Chronicle writers Marisa Lagos, Leslie Fulbright, Wyatt Buchanan, Meredith May, John Koopman and Jonathan Curiel contributed to this report. E-mail the writers at kfagan@sfchronicle.com, jvanderbeken@sfchronicle.com, srubenstein@sfchronicle.com and cvega@sfchronicle.com.

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post #2 of 37 (permalink) Old 12-27-2007, 12:52 AM Thread Starter
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When zoo employees realized a tiger was loose, he said, “the zoo shooting team was assembling” with tranquilizer guns. “But when police saw the weapon, they took it away. They had taken control of the scene.”
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post #3 of 37 (permalink) Old 12-27-2007, 03:55 AM
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Disgusting.One of the most endangered animals on the planet,not there from choice,taunted by idiots and shot dead by self-important fools.
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post #4 of 37 (permalink) Old 12-27-2007, 05:05 AM
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I wonder who gets to keep the lion in a case like this....
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post #5 of 37 (permalink) Old 12-27-2007, 06:52 AM
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One of the media did mention that that particular cat did take off a handler's arm last year so they would have been having to make hard decisions on that one even if they had tranq'ed it.


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post #6 of 37 (permalink) Old 12-27-2007, 07:33 AM
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That's why the cops shot the tiger.

He was armed.

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post #7 of 37 (permalink) Old 12-27-2007, 07:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Botnst View Post
That's why the cops shot the tiger.

He was armed.

Hah! That's a roar.

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post #8 of 37 (permalink) Old 12-27-2007, 07:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Botnst View Post
That's why the cops shot the tiger.

He was armed.
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post #9 of 37 (permalink) Old 12-27-2007, 07:58 AM
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She had to be stopped. Tigers are a threat to a free press.

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post #10 of 37 (permalink) Old 12-27-2007, 08:39 AM
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Better fights, up have been put.

Man kills lion hyenas kill man

Kenyan Man Dies From Hyena Attack Moments After Killing Lion With His Bare Hands
November 20, 2007 7:35 a.m. EST
Ishita Sukhadwala - AHN News Writer

Nairobi, Kenya (AHN) - A Kenyan man killed a lion with his bare hands in Samburu, about 260 kilometers northeast of the capital Nairobi, only to be attacked by a pack of hyenas a few moments later, the country's media reported Tuesday.

He succumbed to his injuries and died in hospital Monday.

Moses Lekalau, 35,a herdsman, was walking from a neighboring village in Maralal with his livestock when a lion pounced upon him. He managed to fend off the animal and used his bare hands and a spear to kill him following half hour duel.

Moments later a pack of hyenas emerged from a nearby bush and attacked Lekalu, biting off his hands and toes.

He was taken to Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi where he died Monday as a result of excessive bleeding.

Herman Wabomba, the spokesperson for the hospital said "It was a brave fight for his life on both occasions", reports News24.

Lekalau came from a nomadic community in which it is a ritual for boys to kill lions as a sign of entering manhood.

In Kenya wild animals attacking humans is quite common since people live close to game parks and animal migration areas.
Field Reports: Man kills lion hyenas kill man


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