December 26, 2007

A tiger escaped from its enclosure and roamed around the San Francisco Zoo preying on human beings.

Astounding. Imagine going to the zoo — on Christmas — and encountering a free-ranging Siberian tiger. Three men were severely mauled, and one has died.
The zoo's director of animal care and conservation, Robert Jenkins, could not explain how Tatiana escaped. The tiger's enclosure is surrounded by a 15-foot-wide moat and 20-foot-high walls, and the approximately 300-pound female did not leave through an open door, he said.

"There was no way out through the door," Jenkins said. "The animal appears to have climbed or otherwise leaped out of the enclosure."
Let me quote — as I did when a 300-pound gorilla escaped from his enclosure — these lines from The Life of Pi:
[Zoo] animals do not escape to somewhere but from something. Something within their territory has frightened them ... and set off a flight reaction. The animal flees, or tries to. I was surprised to read at the Toronto Zoo ... that leopards can jump up to eighteen feet straight up. Our leopard enclosure in Pondicherry was sixteen feet high at the back. I surmise that Rosie and Copycat never jumped out was not because of constitutional weekness but simply because they had no reason to. Animals that escape go from the known to the unknown--and if there is one thing an animal hates above all else, it is the unknown.
This may be so, and then the question is not why Tatiani was able to escape, but why she wanted to and why so many other zoo animals do not.

62 comments:

PatCA said...

He was looking for Robert Parker?

I just finished Life of Pi for my book club and thought the same thing as you. Or perhaps he got out because someone was careless and then he went crazy because he was in new territory and was trying to establish dominance?

Paddy O. said...

In junior high I went with my school to the San Diego zoo. The leopard enclosure was not just a moat and a fence, but a moat and a cage, albeit a cage that enclosed quite a bit of space going up a small hill. The leopard was at the highest level in a little cave. When we walked by it snarled. Not happy.

I being a snotty junior higher full of silly humor snarled back. It didn't like that. It snarled louder.

So did I.

In two leaps or three it bounded from the cave about 30 yards up, and leaped at the fence at me.

Immediate flight response, even though there was that supposed protection.

Though, there is no doubt in my mind had the fence been shorter that leopard would have killed me.

That is the nature of the leopard. Predator, not caged specimen. They hunt and they kill and they roam. That is their nature. Why? That's who they are.

After I heard this story about the tiger yesterday I caught an animal planet show that featured a zoo keeper walking two adolescent tigers around the park.

They played with umbrellas and messed around in the grass. Didn't kill anyone. Kids were walking up and petting them. Amazing.

Slim999 said...

Horrible story.

There will be a wide-ranging, face-saving investigation by the San Francisco Zoo (not criminal prosecutors).

At the end of the day, the investigators will say they really don't know how the tiger got out - but that it was a one-in-a-million chance.

They'll blame the lack of holiday employees for not detecting the escape in time to warn unwary patrons(heck, all you need is a small injected transponder to tell you a lion is loose).

They'll pay an out-of-court multimillion-dollar settlement with donated money - to keep things out of the San Francisco Chronicle, and to keep uninformed people bringing their children to a poorly designed, poorly managed, life-threatening zoo.

Let's remember what this zoo is to San Francisco politicians: A place to park political Democrat party hacks.

No amoung of human maulings will change that.

ricpic said...

I hope the zoo is sued good and proper. If the animal experts know that animals can exceed, significantly exceed, their jumping or leaping capabilities as part of their flight response, and they don't build enclosures with that possibility in mind...well, that's criminally negligent.

rhhardin said...

My feral roosters are beginning to bloody each other, too. It's something in the air, or maybe something astronomical.

Astronomically it's the time of year when eggs fall over quickest.

You'd think males that tend to fight wouldn't also tend to flock.

If you think tigers can jump, you should see roosters.

Rooster moats would have to be huge.

Paddy O. said...

Isaiah 11:1 A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. 2 The spirit of the LORD shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.

3 His delight shall be in the fear of the LORD. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear; 4 but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.

5 Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist, and faithfulness the belt around his loins. 6 The wolf shall live with the lamb , the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. 7 The cow and the bear shall graze, their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.

8 The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder's den. 9 They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.

Trooper York said...

On May 20,1987 a young Puerto Rican kid named Juan Perez was killed by two Polar Bears in the Prospect Park Zoo in Brooklyn which is about a mile from the professors digs in Brooklyn. Three kids had climbed into the polar bear enclosure to swim in the pool. The bears caught one of the kids and killed him. The polar bears were shop 41 times by the cops. Both Al Gore and Al Sharpton were not available for comment.

chuck b. said...

Maybe it saw a mouse.

Jennifer said...

How terrible. I really hate zoos. I find them so depressing and imagine many of the animals feel just about the same way. That said, I go to zoos because my kids absolutely adore them.

At the DC zoo, a deer came bounding out of a wooded median type thing, clattering across our path mere feet in front of us and flying off to parts unknown. For a moment there, I was certain it was a tiger and we were dead.

Roger said...

There is no good in this story--clearly incompetence on the part of the zoo; that the men were killed an injured is also a tragedy; and for the tiger--she was doing what wild animals do. For the police that shot her--they had no choice. So ultimately, with no good outcomes for anyone in this story--why do we put magnificent, feral animals behind bars?

John Lynch said...

This particular one learned that it could attack humans from an earlier incident where it mauled a zookeeper. It should have been destroyed at that point. It's stupid to let a large and dangerous animal near the public.

Animals are not solely motivated by fear, especially predators. This one learned its power over humans, and as a result one person and the animal are dead. The tiger learned to its cost that it didn't need to be afraid.

Chip Ahoy said...

He's looking for Roy Horn. Desperately seeking Siegfried.

christopher said...

Slim999 said:

Let's remember what this zoo is to San Francisco politicians: A place to park political Democrat party hacks.

No amoung of human maulings will change that.


You know, I was wondering how long it would take before somebody here blamed this on liberals.

It would have been funnier if you'd blamed it on either Clinton, but thanks for the giggle anyway, Slim.

Middle Class Guy said...

It would have been funnier if you'd blamed it on either Clinton, but thanks for the giggle anyway, Slim.

12:30 PM

OK, it was Bill's and Hillary's fault that the tiger escaped, mauling and killing. Everything they touch resutls in disaster and death.

Happy now?

PatCA said...

"I find them so depressing and imagine many of the animals feel just about the same way."

You should read The Life of Pi. He makes a pretty convincing argument that animals don't share that feeling about zoos.

jeff said...

"Let's remember what this zoo is to San Francisco politicians: A place to park political Democrat party hacks.

You know, I was wondering how long it would take before somebody here blamed this on liberals."

Interesting. You feel that the San Francisco Democrat party hacks are liberals then. Big of you to admit.

I suspect what they will find out is that the cat was an overachiever. If it is true that a big cat can jump 18 feet straight up, then the fence should probably be at least 24 feet tall with a 33% margin built into it. Someone said they find zoos depressing. The old zoos that are just cages can be like that. The newer zoos that put an effort in replicating the original habitat can be very interesting. I think the San Fransisco zoo should probably talk to the San Diego zoo about this sort of thing. I doubt if the zoo managers political stance will have any effect on how the animals are secured.

carly said...

The real question is why anyone thinks it's a good idea to put wild animals in cages in zoos.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I blame it on the young idiots that were taunting the cat. The only bad thing was that she didn't get to kill all three of them (thereby cleaning up that end of the gene pool) before she was destroyed.

Being in a zoo is a terrible thing. The animals shouldn't be teased and taunted.

John Stodder said...

This tiger had a record. A year ago, it tore the flesh off a zookeeper's arm during feeding.

As for political hackery -- it's not a San Francisco thing, it's a municipal politics thing. The zoo is a great place to put political flunkies in any city that has a zoo. In Los Angeles, they'll put political flunkies almost anywhere. You'd be surprised. If "liberalism" wants to claim this practice as part of its philosophy and defend it, go right ahead, but it's not a partisan thing. Unless Boss Tweed is your ideal of a modern liberal.

However, there is a professional side to zoo management. Willie Brown's cousin isn't deciding how big a tiger cage should be.

Beth said...

Let's remember what this zoo is to San Francisco politicians: A place to park political Democrat party hacks.

Astounding. What must it be like to have a compulsion to make every story about political parties? The tiger ate the people because of the damned librul dhimmicrats!

Trooper York said...

Juan’s two friends who snuck into the polar bear cage said that when the bear started attacking him he cried out “He’s biting me hard.” Unfortunately that became a catch phrase in the eighties, sort of an earlier version of “Don’t taze me bro.” Insensitive louts who hung out in the South St Seaport would tell their fellow stockbrokers about work: “They’re biting me hard man.”

Henry said...

I'm sure those San Francisco liberals were feeding the tiger tofu pops instead of meat. That's why it had to escape.

Actually, I think Roger sums the story up the best.

The public zoo is an anachronism, a 19th century insitution still in search for a 21st century rationale.

Trooper York said...

When Pennie Crone of Channel 5 news finally caught up with Al Sharpton to question him about the incident, Reverend Sharpton immediately blamed the police calling them trigger happy and the shooting of the bears typical of the atmosphere of police brutality. However since they were not bears of color he did not plan any protest marches.

Susan said...

The last time I was at a zoo a friend and I were standing in front of an enclosure. A large animal, I can't even remember what, maybe a rhino, was standing with its back to us. Suddenly it lifted its tail and sent a spray right toward us. Luckily we lept out of the way and narrowly missed being COVERED in urine. Oh the surprises at the zoo!

Paddy O. said...

The real question is why anyone thinks it's a good idea to put wild animals in cages in zoos.

This is why.

It's safer for the time being.

Trooper York said...

Someone told me
It's all happening at the zoo.

I do believe it,
I do believe it's true.

It's a light and tumble journey
From the East Side to the park;
Just a fine and fancy ramble
To the zoo.

But you can take the crosstown bus
If it's raining or it's cold,
And the animals will love it
If you do.

Somethin' tells me
It's all happening at the zoo.

Ouch. He's biting me hard.
(Simon and Garfunkel)

Cedarford said...

Roger - So ultimately, with no good outcomes for anyone in this story--why do we put magnificent, feral animals behind bars?

1. Zoos are a good commercial draw to cities. They pay for themselves and exert a valued economic multiplier effect.

2. Environmentalists, aside from the anilam rights activists and even some of them, believe that the encounters and education people get at zoos in proximity to animals they would never see at all or only fleetingly in the wild helps shape citizen's opinion. It makes them more likely to be interested in animal, to support habitat preservation, be against commercial exploitation of wildlife globally.
I had the privilege of going on safari in Africa and got uncomfortably close to crocs once, a cobra in Thailand, and had mildy threatening brown bear and Bull Moose encounters in Alaska. But not many people have the time or money to do that, nor would many people WITH such time and money be inclined to spend it that way unless they 1st got a great love of wildlife - from zoos or TV.

3. Speaking of TV, yes, you can watch...but being at a zoo or being Japanese tourists in Denali watching a an eagle snarf a half-rotted salmon 200 feet away makes what is in books or electronics become REAL, and reinforces the idea that this is something precious and valuable not to be lost. (A ranger at Denali said one of the most frequent questions Japanese tourists ask is about assurance that the Park will be there for their grandkids..And zoo visitors have similar strong feelings.)

4. Like it or not, zoos are now valuable DNA and species survival repositories. 2 billion humans in 1900, 6.7 billion today, up to 12 billion with collapsed ecosystems and several thousand species exterminated from the wild a strong possiblity by then.

We have had zoos become lychpins of the animal conservation effort to keep healthy breeding populations of endangered animals viable and with genetic diversity.

For those reasons, zoos are legitimate institutions that deserve our support and deserve our support as well for enhancing the quality of life of the animals they host and in many cases help preserve the survival of.

Henry - The public zoo is an anachronism, a 19th century insitution still in search for a 21st century rationale.

Incorrect. Modern conservationists, as opposed to human rights activists - believe zoos, wildlife safari parks, even "for pay" hunting reserves - all have a vital 21st century rationale. Like wildlife santuaries and parks - each serves as an "ark" against a rising sea of human overpopulation and development of virgin lands.

George said...

I'm sorry, but all this makes me think of is brown and yellow pancakes and lots and lots of melted butter....

Why no one tells this story anymore is beyond me....

jeff said...

"The real question is why anyone thinks it's a good idea to put wild animals in cages in zoos."

Because if you let them all run loose in the zoo the bigger ones tend to eat the smaller ones, and people. Cuts way down on revenue from admissions.

See? It makes sense when you just think it through.

jeff said...

George, why do you suppose they included this line in the story?

"....nothing left but a great big pool of melted butter (or "ghi" as it is called in India) round the foot of the tree."

I always heard it told that he was a Indian kid, but the writing and illustrations in there are definitely NOT a kid in India. Which makes me think the author changed the story around a bit.

jeff said...

"Title: Little Black Sambo

Author: Helen Bannerman

Illustrator: Florence White Williams

Release Date: February 22, 2006"


Oh my. Release date of 2006?

George said...

Mmm... The story was written about 100 years ago by a British woman who was either living in India or had lived there. Perhaps it is based on a folk tale.

Anyway, tigers live in India, not Africa.

And most southern Indians are "Dravidian"--very dark skinned people. They make up about 1/3 of all Indians.

The little boy in the story is very smart and outwits the wild animals. And, in the end, his Mommy makes him a delicious breakfast. It's a great bedtime story.

bearing said...

The story to which you refer has been cleaned up, re-set in its truly native India, and re-illustrated with a new name: The Story of Little Babaji.

It's a delightful children's story and I'm so glad it's been rescued.

jeff said...

"Mmm... The story was written about 100 years ago by a British woman who was either living in India or had lived there. Perhaps it is based on a folk tale.
Anyway, tigers live in India, not Africa."

Yes, I know.

"The little boy in the story is very smart and outwits the wild animals. And, in the end, his Mommy makes him a delicious breakfast. It's a great bedtime story.

I take it you missed all the pictures then?

John Stodder said...

Was it a zoo that allowed William Blake to write:

Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies.
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand, dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain,
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp,
Dare its deadly terrors clasp!

When the stars threw down their spears
And water'd heaven with their tears:
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger Tyger burning bright,
In the forests of the night:
What immortal hand or eye,
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?


Perhaps we don't need zoos anymore, because we have documentary films. But without zoos, I don't see how the environmental philosophy of respect for nature and species habitats could have been fostered.

Tigers attack weaker creatures all the time on PBS.

If you want to inject politics into this story, here's some chum to feed on. Did the police hold their fire against the tiger out of an excess concern for the animal vs. the humans? The SFPD police chief was sounding very defensive on the radio.

Jennifer said...

Thanks for the recommendation, PatCa. I'll check it out.

George said...

Jeff--

When my mother read this story to me when I was five, she did not preface it by saying, "Now, I want you to grow up to be a big strong racist boy..."

Like Little Red Riding Hood, the purpose of the story seems to be to teach children how to outwit wild animals so that they can return safely home to their mothers.

As for the images, they are fabulous classic examples of turn-of-the-century children's book illustration art. Absolutely lovely. How are poor villagers in India supposed to dress? In Armani?

The images depict a tropical setting with palm trees, not the United States. The little boy wears curly toed genie slippers and a grass skirt!

Yes, the mother looks like Aunt Jemima. She needs to be on a lo-carb diet and lose the doo-rag. Otherwise, she's well dressed and attractive.

I prefer not to throw art down the Memory Hole because it offends some. Today Sambo, tomorrow Piss Christ.

I wonder which book is at my local Borders--the original Sambo or "Heather Has Two Mommies"? Maybe 100 years from now it will be "Heather Has a Biological Mom and a Biological Dad."

Trooper York said...

When Geraldo Rivera finally caught with Al Gore to question him about the police shooting the polar bears,the eco-conscious rotund Senator from Tennessee was perturbed. “Considering the effect that global warming has had on the population of polar bears, I believe that the police were much too hasty in shooting these endangered animals. After all it is pretty easy to come up with a couple of more Puerto Ricans, don’t you agree Mr. Rivers?”
(New York Daily News, June 6, 1987)

AllenS said...

All the more reason that we need more people with a Concealed Carry Permit.

rhhardin said...

Don't they already have mountain lions eating joggers?

Always jog with a buddy that you can run faster than, is my advice.

AJ Lynch said...

Trooper:

I am not sure when you are being serious or when you are being sarcastic and I don't care. Keep this funny stuff coming!

Tituscuk said...

Personally I don't like zoos. I find it depressing seeing animals in cages.

It may be a completely happy life for them and they may enjoy it. I just don't find it entertaining to see an animal in a cage.

When I was young I did enjoy watching the monkeys pick their butts though. I also liked to see the big animals penis's.

Harkonnendog said...

"Animals that escape go from the known to the unknown--and if there is one thing an animal hates above all else, it is the unknown."

I don't think this applies to tigers. I'm sure it applies to animals that get eaten, maybe even to herd animals that eat... Tigers? WTF do they have to be afraid of, evolutionary wise?

peter hoh said...

Tigers? WTF do they have to be afraid of, evolutionary wise?
Elephants. Guar.

Lawgiver said...

"Animals that escape go from the known to the unknown--and if there is one thing an animal hates above all else, it is the unknown."

I agree with Harkonnendog, but I'll go even further and say it probably doesn't apply to a lot of animals. How many rats are afraid of the unknown, or sharks, or bats? Animals go where the food is whether it's a known place or not. All things equal, animals don't appear to have any more fear of the unknown than humans do.

Ann Althouse said...

"animals don't appear to have any more fear of the unknown than humans do."

1. We are animals.

2. We are afraid of the unknown.

Henry said...

4. Like it or not, zoos are now valuable DNA and species survival repositories.

This is exactly the type of rationalization that I'm talking about. Once upon a time it was fashionable to shoot and stuff wild animals to form valuable species "identification repositories."

Which is what the "DNA repository" equates to. So the public zoo is to be a "DNA repository." And what does that accomplish?

Zoo-raised animals aren't being reintroduced into the wild. They don't behave in zoos as they do in the wild. Many of them won't even reproduce. If they do, the offspring are mostly sold to other zoos.

True, some zoos commit to trying to propagate endangered species. But I'm not clear why you need a zoo attached to this effort.

Really I'm not as cynical as I sound. We have a good local zoo where the animals are treated well and have large enclosures. I'm happy going to the zoo. But zoos still seem to me to be closer to the taxonomy idea of the 19th century than the DNA rationale of the 21st.

Lawgiver said...

Ms Althouse says,

"animals don't appear to have any more fear of the unknown than humans do."

1. We are animals.

2. We are afraid of the unknown.


So what is your point Ann? I should have used the word hate instead of fear but I don't think that changes anything. Are you saying that humans hate/fear the unknown more than anything else? I don't think that is true of humans or animals whether they are caged up or not.

We are afraid of the unknown.

That's to vague for me to digest. Are you watching "Night of the Living Dead" or something?

PatCA said...

I'll agree with Ann on her statement, lawgiver, reinforced by the discussion in my book club after reading The Life of Pi.

We seek out our own habitats and even call our home our nest, where we cocoon. It makes us feel safe against the large unruly world outside. We trust routine: when the mailman shows up regularly, we feel no alarm; when a stranger peeks in the window after dark, we feel differently.

The sight of gazelles racing across the veldt, seen in many a nature show, is entrancing. Ever stop to think they might be running because they're scared of the tiger right behind chasing down his next meal? We are all animals, and variously murderous, beautiful, noble, frightened, and cruel.

jeff said...

"As for the images, they are fabulous classic examples of turn-of-the-century children's book illustration art. Absolutely lovely. How are poor villagers in India supposed to dress? In Armani?

The images depict a tropical setting with palm trees, not the United States. The little boy wears curly toed genie slippers and a grass skirt!

Yes, the mother looks like Aunt Jemima. She needs to be on a lo-carb diet and lose the doo-rag. Otherwise, she's well dressed and attractive."

Clearly my mistake. I had no idea native Indians looked like caricatures of black people. I also had no idea they had such large lips. Or that the Indian father just kind of laid around. Clearly the typical Indian peasant dressed much like the stereotyped slaves in America did.

"fabulous classic examples of turn-of-the-century children's book illustration art. Absolutely lovely."

Oh, absolutely. You must have really appreciated the salt and pepper shakers, the print advertising during that period, the comics, calenders and any number of other things with what I foolishly thought were racist drawings of black people. Now that I know they were actually accurate depictions of Indian people, it makes me feel better.


"When my mother read this story to me when I was five, she did not preface it by saying, "Now, I want you to grow up to be a big strong racist boy..."

So you didnt learn it at home then.

jeff said...

Here you go, George.

"LITTLE BLACK SAMBO is a the controversial story of a little black boy and his adventures. This story was considered racist in the African American community and was prohibited in many schools and libraries. There is an updated and more politically correct SAMBO now on the market. This is not that book. This is the original book printed in 1899. Because this book represents a piece of African American history we believe that the original illustrations and exploits of Sambo and the tiger should not be disgarded. This is a beautiful full color edition of the book. The pictures are spectacular and the story, though simple, is a powerful reminder of how Blacks were viewed."

http://www.lulu.com/content/252156

$39 and you can buy your own copy. Maybe you could write the seller and let them know those illustrations are actually of India natives, since they are just as confused as I was, until you straightened me out.

peter hoh said...

Henry raised an interesting point -- how people used to justify shooting and stuffing wild animals as all being for the purpose of education. The Science Museum of Minnesota includes a display about itself, exploring how the nature of collecting and displaying artifacts has changed over the past 100 years.

The display includes a number of mounted specimens from an African safari, along with a film in which the brave white hunter explains his justification for what he's doing. It sounds a little off to modern ears.

former law student said...

1. The "one of everything" taxonomy model of zoo management is so OVER. It started going out of fashion in the 60s. Now you have to visit half a dozen zoos to see all the animals you could have seen fifty years ago. The mantra since the 80s is habitat habitat habitat, along with behavior behavior behavior.

2. I'm gonna be an ageist genderist and say that the young male victims were up to no good. Who goes to the zoo on Christmas Day and stays till after closing; when it was already quite dark. The deceased tiger got a bad rap: she bit the zookeeper's arm at feeding time because it looked like she was going to take away her food. (Hint: do not go near a tiger's food once you have given it to her.) Finally, the SF Zoo was the same zoo where two teenaged boys heisted a pair of koalas, as gifts for their girlfriends, back in 2000.

Gary Rosen said...

"Did the police hold their fire against the tiger out of an excess concern for the animal vs. the humans?"

According to the reports I have read, when the police arrived the tiger was on top of one of the men and they held their fire to protect the victim. Then the tiger approached the police and they shot her.

Synova said...

"True, some zoos commit to trying to propagate endangered species. But I'm not clear why you need a zoo attached to this effort."

To encourage people to care. So they can see the animals and so they can "adopt" them as some zoos do. So small children can go and see live animals and learn about them and when they grow up maybe they'll donate to conservation efforts.

As for Sambo and all of that...

I would hope that we're mature enough not to try to erase our past because parts of it are less than admirable. If it's the original Sambo or Loony Toons or reading pulp fiction from an earlier age, seeing the depiction of contemporary assumptions is good for us. It helps to put so much into context to be able to see how sensibilities change over time.

Clean it all up proper and we lose the context and meaning and a whole lot of understanding of what came before.

It's not just those who forget History who are doomed to repeat it, it's those who want to white-wash and revise History to somehow make it all go away.

On purpose.

Synova said...

"...and any number of other things with what I foolishly thought were racist drawings of black people."

Watch Boondocks sometime.

If you want to see highly stylized over-emphasized lips and hair and...

... oh, nevermind.

rhhardin said...

There is speculation now that offensive remarks may have been directed at the tiger.

Synova said...

Do they think that the men were together and that they were taunting the tiger? Or is that just speculation.

All I'd heard was that no one knew and that the dead man hadn't been identified the next day because he had no ID and no one called for fear he was a missing relative.

hdhouse said...

let's think like lawyers here...

the cat: just a poor dumb albeit cunning animal as others have said, doing what animal do. there was no "planning". it just wanted out and 3 men were there by chance. no premeditation. just bad luck.

the men: entered an area of caged wild animals. by its very nature, zoos do not domesticate their animals so there could be no anticipation that if confronted by an escaped animal that the animal would be anything but wild.

the zoo: although generally a charitable institution or at least one that draws its financial support from the city, it has "deep pockets". certainly there is no recourse against the cat - it is dead. the city can draw from insurance and its coffers.

the cat, too, could sue or at least the cat's heirs have a claim against SF for improperly constructing an enclosure. (see backyard swimming pools, attractive nusance, fences).

if california had republican senators none of this would have happened.

George said...

Jeff--

What is your opinion of Picasso's "Les Demoiselles D'Avignon? It depicts five nude prostitutes. The facial features of two of them are clearly Negroid, as Picasso was at the time influenced by African tribal masks.

Aren't they degrading? Nightmarish? Racist?

Shouldn't the Museum of Modern Art take down this painting? After all, children can see it there.

No one should publish this picture in art books. A new version should be painted so that the faces are clearly Caucasian.

Henry said...

Synova said - To encourage people to care. So they can see the animals and so they can "adopt" them as some zoos do. So small children can go and see live animals and learn about them and when they grow up maybe they'll donate to conservation efforts.

The public urban zoo predated this rationale.

The habitat and behaviour model that Former Law Student describes is certainly the way zoos are run now. Unfortunately, it produces bad science (case in point: Bonobo studies). Zoo animals are too healthy, too well fed, and too bored to equate to their wild counterparts.

Synova said...

Strictly applying reason to human affairs is... missing something.

Why have zoos when they aren't actually *useful* for science? There are so many better things to do. More effective programs. Better ways to use money.

It's like arguing for astronauts. Astronauts are a drain on the space program, inefficient for science, and generally not a good idea. All the extra expense of putting people in space is pointless. Computers and small robot probes and landers can do so much more and far more cheaply.

In both cases, however, we're talking about human beings and when it comes to human beings romance matters. Imagination and unreason *matter*. We dream.

Without the dreams there's no point to the efficient and sterile pursuit of any goal.