A federal inspector determined that a tiger named Tatiana was provoked before she leapt out of her enclosure and attacked three young people—killing one—at the San Francisco Zoo in 2007. The inspector noted in her initial report, "With my knowledge of tiger behavior I cannot imagine a tiger trying to jump out of its enclosure unless it was provoked," and that the sticks, rock, and other objects that were found in Tatiana's cage indicated that "someone may have thrown these items into the enclosure at the tigers."
Her conclusions, originally stricken from the final report, have come to light three years after the fact, but one of the men had previously admitted that the three had been standing on a metal rail, waving and shouting. Animals in zoos are easy targets. Less than a year later, a man was cited for misdemeanor animal taunting for allegedly throwing acorns at a rhinoceros, and another man was cited for disturbing animals when he jumped into the rhino enclosure. Both incidents happened at the same zoo.
PETA filed a complaint with federal authorities after Tatiana was killed in a hail of bullets, and the zoo was assessed a fine of $1,875 for unsafe enclosures.
People who care about animals should refuse to buy a ticket to any zoo, where, in addition to the daily frustration of living in a concrete box, visitors sometimes add insult to the animals' injury—and get themselves or the animals injured or killed in the process.
Written by Jennifer O'Connor