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 Tiger kills 1, injures 2 at zoo

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gaboman

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PostSubject: Tiger kills 1, injures 2 at zoo   Wed Dec 26, 2007 10:41 pm

Tiger kills 1, injures 2 at zoo


SAN FRANCISCO, California (CNN) -- An escaped tiger killed a zoo patron and injured two others in a cafe at the San Francisco Zoo Tuesday afternoon, a spokeswoman for the San Francisco Fire Department told CNN.

Both of the injured were transported to San Francisco General Hospital, Fire Department Lt. Mindy Talmadge said.

Police shot and killed the tiger, she added.

The two injured men, aged 19 and 23, were in serious but stable condition with multiple lacerations, said Dr. Eric Isaacs.

"I believe there was probably some blood loss at the zoo, but here they are talking, they are alert, their vital signs are stable at this time," Isaacs said. Both men could be released as early as Wednesday, he added.

Authorities were notified of an escaped tiger around 5:15 p.m. PT (0115 GMT), shortly after the zoo's 5 p.m. closing time, Talmadge said.

"Apparently right around closing time -- there was a pen with four tigers in it -- one of the tigers got out," Talmadge said. "The tiger went into a cafe at the zoo and attacked a patron. That person ended up dying at the scene."

Police arrived on the scene, as the tiger attacked two other patrons, Talmadge said.

"They shot the tiger, and the tiger is deceased," she said.

The 125-acre zoo was locked down after the incident, and all the facility's other animals were accounted for, including three other tigers that had been in the same enclosure with the escaped tiger, Talmadge said.

Initially, officials feared some or all of the other tigers may have escaped but later determined they had not, Talmadge said.

Police, fire and zoo officials were on the scene investigating, Talmadge said.

The 78-year-old zoo has Siberian tigers and rarer and smaller Sumatran tigers. It was not clear which subspecies of tiger was involved in the incident.

A year ago, one of the zoo's Siberian tigers attacked a keeper during a public feeding. The keeper survived and recovered from her injuries.

California's Division of Occupation Safety and Health later determined that the zoo was at fault because of hazardous conditions in the Lion House and lack of specialized safety training for employees.

The zoo made changes ordered by the OSH, and the Lion House was closed for more than six months after that incident.

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Nymphadora

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PostSubject: Re: Tiger kills 1, injures 2 at zoo   Wed Dec 26, 2007 11:42 pm

oh that's horrible


does anyone else think this "I believe there was probably some blood loss at the zoo" was a bit of a crazy thing to say?

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gaboman

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PostSubject: Re: Tiger kills 1, injures 2 at zoo   Thu Dec 27, 2007 12:17 am

Hm, kind of. It's obvious that person wasn't there, though, so perhaps they're just being cautious in what they say.

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PostSubject: Re: Tiger kills 1, injures 2 at zoo   Thu Dec 27, 2007 12:41 am

Suspect maybe

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PostSubject: Re: Tiger kills 1, injures 2 at zoo   Thu Dec 27, 2007 8:34 am

I think anyome that survives a 300lb tioger attack is bloddy lucky. Got to say this tiger did not escape either the cage was not locked or worse sombody intentionally let it out, these zoo's have huge cages sometimes more then one cage and big moats that seperate the tigers from the people which makes escape pretty difficult.
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PostSubject: Re: Tiger kills 1, injures 2 at zoo   Thu Dec 27, 2007 6:02 pm

About an hour ago on the news they said that the wall on the other side of the moat was only 12 feet high. Hell yeah a big tiger could get over that. What a terrible tragedy for all involved, including the tiger.

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PostSubject: Re: Tiger kills 1, injures 2 at zoo   Sun Dec 30, 2007 12:55 am




S.F. Zoo's history of mismanagement; morale down under new director




Patricia Yollin, Chronicle Staff Writer

Saturday, December 29, 2007

A koala is kidnapped. Sheep are molested by a human intruder. An elephant does a headstand on a technician, breaking her pelvis. A tiger ravages its keeper's arm. A year later, on Christmas Day, the same feline escapes, kills and gets killed.
This is what life can be like at the San Francisco Zoo, a 78-year-old institution saddled with a history of mismanagement and scores of injuries to animals, employees and visitors alike - yet still beloved by generations of Bay Area residents.
It's almost as if the place is cursed.
Tuesday's attack by Tatiana, a Siberian tiger that broke out of her yard, fatally mauled a teenager and injured two of his friends before being shot to death by police, has captured international attention. From Paris to Beijing, people are asking: How could this happen?
"For the next 50 years, it's what the San Francisco Zoo will be remembered for," said one high-ranking former employee.
The very public tragedy overshadows decades of problems - and the troubles of the current zoo administration, which began in February 2004 when Manuel Mollinedo became director of the 100-acre facility.
Almost four years later, attendance has increased, celebrations built around ethnic holidays have drawn crowds, new arrivals such as KuneKune pigs have proved popular, and two splashy exhibits - Hearst Grizzly Gulch and the long-planned African Savanna - have opened. However, problems have multiplied and employee morale has plummeted.
"It's never been this bad," one worker said.
For this story, Mollinedo declined to talk. "Manuel is not doing interviews," Lora LaMarca, the zoo's director of marketing and public relations, said Friday.
The director's tenure has been highly eventful.
Three of the zoo's four elephants have died since March 2004 - two at the zoo, a third at a Calaveras County sanctuary where it was sent, broken-down and ailing. The lone survivor still lives there. The fight over the pachyderms' fate, taken up by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and animal rights activists, enraged the national Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which tabled the zoo's accreditation for a year.
Puddles, a venerable 44-year-old hippopotamus, died in May, a day after a move that some employees say was bungled and others say should never have been made.
This summer, two giant elands, valued at $30,000 apiece, were killed by their peer soon after all three arrived at the zoo, during a quarantine that sources say was doomed and mishandled. Two black swans, introduced with much fanfare in May 2006, also didn't last long.
A year ago June, some parakeets in the zoo's big summer blockbuster, Binnowee Landing, tested positive for psittacine beak-and-feather disease, which is contagious and often fatal to other birds, including family pets. The zoo knew about the problem but did not warn visitors until it was reported in the press.
In April 2005, even a grizzly bear naming contest turned into a public relations nightmare when some zoo officials heavily promoted the event while others canceled it, preferring to auction the naming rights to the highest bidder.
Meanwhile, plans were quietly killed for the Great Ape Forest exhibit, highlighted in a $48 million city bond measure approved by voters in 1997 to upgrade the zoo. And four would-be inhabitants - aging wild-born chimpanzees- are still living in a concrete grotto while their handler continues her lonely quest to make sure their rare and invaluable genes are passed on through breeding.
The chimps' longtime zookeeper, Lisa Hamburger, has occasionally appeared at monthly meetings of the Joint Zoo Committee, a city panel that oversees the zoo, to plead her case. As she prepared to speak one afternoon, Mollinedo got up and walked out of the room.
That kind of behavior is no surprise to Mollinedo's current and former employees, as well as those who worked under him at the Los Angeles Zoo, where he was director from 1995 to 2002.
"It would appear that his management style - which downplays the value of staff and the welfare of animals - remains in place," said a former worker from the Los Angeles Zoo.
A departed San Francisco Zoo manager concurred.
"It's a top-down mentality that the zoo has adopted," he said. "And I think it's very dangerous."
Since Mollinedo took over, there has been a steady exodus of employees, including the deputy director, education director, two successive public relations managers, development director, curator of birds, marketing manager, events director, human resources manager, general manager of concessions and a number of veteran keepers.
Michele Rudovsky, associate curator of hoofstock and pachyderms, starting working at the zoo as a teenager but quit in August after more than a quarter-century. Head veterinarian Freeland Dunker also resigned and will depart in early January for the California Academy of Sciences.
Most of those who left, sources say, were fed up or pushed out.
"What walked out the door was 200-plus years of incredible animal experience - and you can't afford that," said former penguin keeper Jane Tollini, who quit in 2005 after 24 years.
Still, she misses her old life a lot.
"The zoo is my home away from my home," Tollini said. "And I felt like it was always an honor, every single day, to go to work and feel accepted by the animals. I could call to one of the lions, one of the gorillas. There was a recognition; they knew my voice. And the little kids who'd go, 'I want to be a penguin' - you just hope to God these kids will get touched, and that they'll look at animals in a different way."
Nanette Taraya-Vonk was on her way to the zoo Wednesday with her children when she heard about the attack and headed for the Oakland Zoo instead.
She summed up the feeling of many patrons when she told The Chronicle: "I know they're going to get a lot of bad publicity after this, but I hope people still go to the zoo. You could cross the street and get hurt. Kids love the zoo."
There's something about the zoo that is magical. It's why many employees who have left want to remain anonymous when they speak out. Some hope to return one day - but under a different administration.
Employees characterize the current regime as arrogant, autocratic and dismissive of those with experience and institutional knowledge. Keepers, who know the animals and their habitats inside and out, say they have little input and are not listened to by Mollinedo and Bob Jenkins, the zoo's director of animal care and conservation. Workers of every variety fear they're being spied upon and will not speak publicly, afraid of reprisals. Even before the Christmas rampage, information was tightly controlled.
For example, a complex lease and management agreement with San Francisco and the Zoological Society determines how the zoo operates. The city owns the animals and the zoo, while the private nonprofit operates and manages everything. Although the public is entitled to see most information, media requests for routine data have been deemed "confidential" - requiring calls to the city attorney's office and public records requests to pry loose.
One ex-employee said worn-down zoo workers would sometimes say: "It won't change until somebody dies."
On Dec. 22 of last year, 300-pound Tatiana severely injured keeper Lori Komejan inside the Lion House, "degloving" her arm, as the state's workplace safety report put it. That agency, Cal/OSHA blamed the zoo, citing defects that the zoo knew about but hadn't fixed, and imposed an $18,000 penalty.
Although tiger experts agree that there was no reason to euthanize Tatiana, Mollinedo described the 4-year-old tiger - a day after her death - as having been "at the top of her game." A former management person at the zoo said, "Here you've got a young cat that's testing her environment - very agile, very strong. A cautious zoo manager would call other zoos and say, 'How big is your moat?' ... This is like having Hannibal Lecter. There's a reason they put that mask on him."
The zoo had reinforced Tatiana's indoor cage after Komejan was mauled - but the fatal attack Christmas afternoon took place in her outdoor quarters.
"That place is a whirling dervish," said a onetime keeper. "And it's ready to spin out of control."
Maybe it already has. The zoo, now grappling with a lawsuit by Komejan, could be sued by the victims' families, lose its accreditation, incur heavy fines or even face criminal charges. City officials are calling for hearings and possible changes in how the zoo is operated.
And it's not at all clear what might have provoked the attack.
"Animals being taunted was always an issue," an ex-employee said. "But you should be able to walk down there slathered in raw meat and not have them get out."

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