Tuesday, January 8, 2008

San Francisco Zoo Tiger Attack Criticism

See post of 1/18/2008 for updated info.

Just read a story at The New York Times, titled Tiger Attack Puts Focus on Zoo Director (January 8). I'll try to link to the story here, but you might need to log in at the site before reading the story.

The story notes that SF Zoo Director Manuel Mollinedo is being greatly criticized for his suggestion that perhaps the mauling victims had been taunting the tiger that attacked them. It's said that the survivors' lawyer might file defamation charges against Mollinedo and/or the SF Zoo.

We know neither why nor how the tiger escaped its enclosure -- and no other tiger has ever escaped in the Zoo's history. Therefore, I believe it is not unreasonable to wonder if the reason might be that the animal was taunted. Do we know that it wasn't? Of course, no one - including the Zoo Director - has said that the men injured in the attack were guilty of taunting the animal.

As officials and the general public struggle to understand the cause of this situation and how to prevent further such incidences, it is at the least selfish and gratuitous to threaten a defamation lawsuit.


  1. This was a horrible incident. I'm sure the families must be devastated, but I am so saddened that the tiger needed to be put down because the allegedly foolish kids allegedly taunted the beast. Such a loss! They shouldn't be in zoos in the first place. They should be in protected, natural sanctuary environments.

  2. Hi Kathleen,

    I totally agree with you about animals being in, at the least, more natural sanctuary environments. There are arguments both ways, I guess.

    We might never know what encouraged or motivated the tiger to escape its 'home'. I suspect it was underestimation of an animal's intellect, instincts, and physical capabilities (by multiple organizations and individuals, including "everyday" citizens).

  3. So much tragedy occurs when humans and wild animals cross paths with one another and ultimately, both suffer in some way - the worst outcome of course being loss of life. But we humans need to respect that these animals are hard-wired to be wild, they don't exist for our amusement and they are deserving of our respect and wonder. Thank you for a thoughtful post!

  4. Thanks squirrelmama.

    I have tried to put in a link to your blog from my blog, but for some strange reason the URL keeps taking me to other blogs. I'll keep at it.


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