Search This Site

This site requires Quick time to play its audio player if need.
"A penny for your thoughts"

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Tiger escape from SAN FRANCISCO zoo, kills one


The big cat exhibit at the San Francisco Zoo was cordoned off as a crime scene Wednesday as investigators tried to determine whether a 300-pound Siberian tiger that killed a visitor escaped from its high-walled pen on its own or got help from someone, inadvertent or otherwise.

The Siberian tiger fatally attacked the unidentified man just after the zoo's 5pm closing time. It was shot and killed by police while it was on top of another victim, said zoo spokeswoman Lora LaMarca.

She did not have details about the victims, but reports said the dead man, aged 23, was attacked near an outdoor tiger enclosure. The two injured men were in a cafe about 300 yards away.

Authorities have identified the dead visitor as 17-year-old Carlos Sousa Jr. of San Jose, the Chronicle now says. He was with the two who were injured, 19- and 23-year-old brothers from San Jose, about 50 miles south of San Francisco. Police said they had no evidence that the tiger was taunted before the attack.
Carlos Sousa Jr., 17, was fatally mauled by a tiger at the San Francisco Zoo on Christmas. Photo courtesy of Sousa family

They were in "stable but critical condition" at San Francisco General Hospital, said Lt. Ken Smith, a spokesman with the San Francisco Fire Department Local news radio KCBS said they suffered cuts and slashes all over their bodies.

LaMarca could not say how the 9-year-old tiger, named Tatiana, escaped. Police were investigating, she added.

The 100-acre (40-hectare) park was evacuated after the attack, but attendance was low at the time because of the Christmas holiday and early darkness, LaMarca said.

The incident follows a December 22, 2006, attack when Tatiana ripped the flesh off a zookeeper's arm during feeding time as horrified visitors looked on. The public feeding house was immediately closed, and only reopened in September after a $US250,000 safety upgrade. The zoo now has four tigers.

View blog reactions


Post a Comment