Thursday, December 27, 2007

Killer Tiger at San Francisco Zoo: Wall only 12.5' Tall

Last night we got some flak from commenters on our story how tigers can leap 30 feet.

We wrote how Tatiana, the Siberian tiger, might of lept over the enclosure fence. At the time the news reported the wall was 20 ft. tall. Tatiana mauled three men, one fatally, at the San Francisco Zoo before authorities shot the tiger dead.

We're not "experts" in exotic animals so we decided to research how far tigers are known to be able to leap. From the American Museum of Natural History:
No animal fires our imaginations like the tiger -- and for good reason. Tigers are the largest of the big cats. They are incredibly powerful predators: Bengal tigers can bring down wild cattle weighing a ton or more. They are as agile as they are strong: tigers can leap more than 30 feet (9 m) in a single bound, climb trees, and swim for miles. And in their forest habitats, they can disappear in an instant, melting soundlessly into the brush. "When you see a tiger," says Indian biologist Ullas Karanth, "it is always like a dream." Source - DBKP
We read where Jack Hanna, 'wildlife' expert, said it was 'virtuously' impossible for a tiger to get out, that someone must of 'taunted' the tiger.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Animal expert Jack Hanna calls it "virtually impossible" for a rampaging tiger to have climbed or leaped out of its zoo enclosure in San Francisco. The director emeritus of the Columbus Zoo speculates that visitors could have been fooling around and might have taunted the animal. Hanna says it's even possible they helped it get out, maybe by putting a board in the 20-foot moat surrounding the exhibit.
Source - WTOL - Tiger Leap "Virtually Impossible"

Then today from the AP:

San Francisco Zoo Director admits tiger wall was just 12 1/2 foot tall.

So let's do the math one more time:

Tigers can leap 30 feet. This according to the Museum of Natural History.

The San Francisco Zoo director admits the wall less than 13 foot tall.

13 feet versus 30 feet = tiger over the wall

There was also the suggestion by Hanna that someone "had" to 'taunted' Tatiana. Is Hanna one hundred percent certain that this occurred? Tigers are known for killing humans without "taunting." They are, after all, carnivores.

If the zoo knew that wall was lower, then the responsibility may point squarely to them.

Time will tell.

For the dead guy and Tatiana, time is no longer a factor.

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