Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Zoo apologizes for tiger escape

Zoo apologizes for tiger escape
 
Brent Begin, The Examiner
2008-01-29 11:00:00.0
 
SAN FRANCISCO
The chairman of the nonprofit agency that runs the San Francisco Zoo made a public apology Monday for the tiger escape in December that killed one teenager and injured two of his friends.
 
"There was no excuse," Zoological Society Chairman Nick Podell said, during a Board of Supervisors committee hearing called to discuss the deadly Christmas Day attack that killed 17-year-old Carlos Sousa Jr. Brothers Paul and Kulbir Dhaliwal were also mauled by the Siberian tiger, but survived.
 
"Under no circumstance is it OK for an animal to leave its enclosure," said Podell, who maintained his support for zoo Director Manuel Mollinedo. Mollinedo repeated at the meeting that something "unusual and extraordinary" had to have happened to provoke the tiger, named Tatiana.
 
The Zoological Society took over management of the facilities from The City in 1993. With more than $1 million going toward a higher wall at the zoo's big-cat enclosure and with thousands of dollars paid to lawyers, public relations firms, risk management experts and design consultants, city officials expressed concern that money from a $48 million bond passed by voters in 1997 for zoo improvements is drying up.
 
With a little over $4 million left in the bond cache, according to Recreation and Park General Manager Yomi Agunbiade, The City may no longer be able to afford a project that would fix the rooftops of the lion house behind the big-cat enclosures. The project was slated to fix leaks in the roof where the lions and tigers are currently held until the 19-foot-tall wall is completed.
 
 
 



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Tiger kills another woman

Tiger kills another woman

30 Jan 2008, 0140 hrs IST,TNNSMS NEWS to 58888 for latest updates

CHANDRAPUR: In yet another incident of tiger attack, a 60-year-old woman from Kawarpet village in Mul tehsil was killed on Tuesday morning. This is the seventh such incident since last December of which three were killed in Mul forest range in a span of one month.

Deceased Janabai Kashinath Gurnule had gone to a nearby nullah to answer nature's call, when, sources said, the tiger suddenly attacked her and dragged her almost 700 metres into forest.

The body was later found by some villagers who had gone to the jungle to collect wood. Arun Tikhe, RFO, Mul forest range said confirmed that it was an act of a tiger. "An exgratia amount of Rs 5,000 has already been given to the family members of the deceased. Another Rs 2 lakh will be released as soon as the investigation and other formalities are over," he said.

He, however, said that this is not the tiger of Padzadi jungle in same forest range that had killed two persons in last one month and injured a shepherd and several cattle. "It is the act of another tiger, as the Padzadi jungle is about 25 km from the spot and the chances of Padzadi tiger reaching Kawarpet are less," said Tikhe. He said the tiger "didn't eat the woman". The body has been sent for post-mortem.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Nagpur/Tiger_kills_another_woman/articleshow/2741690.cms#write
 
 



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SF Police Suspend Tiger Attack Probe

SF Police Suspend Tiger Attack Probe
 
By MARCUS WOHLSEN – 21 hours ago
 
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Police have suspended their investigation into the tiger attack at the San Francisco Zoo that killed a teenager as they wait for new witnesses or evidence to emerge.
 
The investigation has been put on hold "pending new witnesses being interviewed and/or new evidence being produced," city police said in a statement Tuesday. No criminal charges have been filed.
 
An escaped 250-pound Siberian tiger fatally mauled 17-year-old Carlos Sousa Jr. and wounded his friends, brothers Paul and Kulbir Dhaliwal, after apparently climbing or leaping from its enclosure Dec. 25.
 
"We didn't have, obviously, enough to move forward with anything," said San Francisco police Inspector Valerie Matthews, lead investigator.
 
Police were not actively pursuing new leads but have not closed the investigation in case new information arises, Matthews said. Police will probably decide in late February whether a probe should continue.
 
Investigators have not brought prosecutors any investigation results or recommended any charges, said Erica Terry Derryck, a spokeswoman for the district attorney's office.
 
Police said in court documents that they believed the attack was in part triggered by the victims provoking the animal. They did not specify what, if any, crimes they thought had been committed.
 
Matthews declined to detail the nature of the potential crimes police were investigating.
A search warrant affidavit filed Jan. 17 said the victims had marijuana in their systems, and toxicology results showed the blood alcohol level for Paul Dhaliwal, 19, was 0.16 percent — twice the legal limit for driving.
 
His 24-year-old brother and Sousa also had alcohol in their blood, but within the legal driving limit, Matthews wrote.
 
Mark Geragos, an attorney for the Dhaliwal brothers, said Tuesday he believed the city had pressured police to unnecessarily prolong their investigation as part of a "smear campaign" against his clients. Geragos said they had done nothing wrong.
 
A police spokesman declined to comment on whether the department had been pressured.
Michael Cardoza, a lawyer for Sousa's parents, said that he does not understand why police would pause the investigation instead of closing it for good.
 
"They have had plenty of time to bring this case to an investigative conclusion," Cardoza said.
 
 
 



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S.F. zoo's big cats get stronger enclosure

S.F. zoo's big cats get stronger enclosure

Published: Jan. 29, 2008 at 3:07 PM

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 29 (UPI) -- The big cats in the San Francisco Zoo will be more strictly confined when they go back on public display for the first time since a tiger killed a teenager.

Contractors are completing work on the lion and tiger enclosures, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. When the exhibit reopens to the public, scheduled for Feb. 7, the tigers will be surrounded by wire mesh 19 feet high.

The new defenses at the zoo include surveillance cameras in areas where dangerous animals are kept, electronic alarms for escapes and moats with wires that carry a light electrical charge to shock would-be escapees.

The Siberian tiger that escaped on Christmas Day also mauled two brothers. At the time, zoo officials suggested that one or more of the three might have provoked the escape and attack.

At a public hearing Monday, Nick Podell, chairman of the San Francisco Zoological Society, said the three couldn't be blamed for the attack even if they did something.

"Under no circumstances is it OK for an animal to escape its enclosure," he said. "I want to deliver a mea culpa for the zoo. There is no excuse."
 
 
 



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Lodi vet asks: Who speaks for San Francisco tiger who was shot and killed?

Lodi vet asks: Who speaks for San Francisco tiger who was shot and killed?
by Joe Guzzardi
Updated: Saturday, January 26, 2008 6:45 AM PST
Richard Turner, DVM, sedates and treats tigers on a regular basis at his Lodi Arbor Pet Clinic. Within the last six months, Turner has anesthetized six of the large cats in preparation for surgery.

I spoke with Turner recently about the Christmas Day incident at the San Francisco Zoo that left Carlos Sousa Jr. and Tatiana the tiger dead.

During our conversation, Turner emphasized repeatedly that drug combinations are readily available that can immobilize large animals quickly, in many cases less than 64 seconds. Turner's recommendation is to: "have a fully loaded tranquilizer gun and dart ready to use. Even if the medications were overdosed, the tiger would only sleep for hours. But she would be alive."

Turner sadly added that: "No one had to die. I'm concerned about the foolishness of the young men and that the tiger's rights were violated by improper preparation by zoo officials."

As bits and pieces of the story continue to come in, a few details about the surviving perpetrators are clear. They are not the type you'll invite to your house for dinner.

Paul and Kulbir Dhaliwal are miscreants who had been drinking heavily, smoking pot and who lied about their actions at the zoo.

Further, they have a long and ugly police record. Paul, at the time of the zoo incident, was on felony probation after pleading no contest to reckless and drunken driving, resisting arrest, striking an officer and providing a false name.

Kulbir, for his part, was charged in September for public intoxication and resisting arrest.

But despite evidence that the trio taunted Tatiana, the police investigation may soon be reclassified as "inactive."

That would be a pity because where the Dhaliwals should be, for the safety of all of us, is off the street.

Numerous studies indicate that youthful violent behavior toward animals is a predictor of similar anti-social behavior that will be directed toward adults.

According to information recently released by PAWS, the FBI looks for cases of animal cruelty when profiling serial killers. And the Department of Justice, when assessing youth who are at risk of committing interpersonal violence, emphasizes the importance of including information about past animal abuse.

A study in 1997 by the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty For Animals and Northeastern University found that 70 percent of all animal abusers have committed at least one other criminal offense and that almost 40 percent had committed violent crimes against people.

Researchers also found that over a 20-year period, individuals who had abused animals as youths are five times more likely to commit violent crimes, four times more likely to commit property crimes and three times more likely to have drug or disorderly conduct offenses than a matched group of non-animal abusers.

Luckily for the perpetrators, they've lawyered up. The Souza family hired Michael Cardoza, a Walnut Creek criminal defense attorney who has worked on such highly publicized cases as the Scott Peterson murder trial and the 2001 San Francisco dog mauling. And the Dhaliwals retained the counsel of high-profile Los Angeles attorney Mark Geragos who represented Peterson.

But who, Turner wants to know, speaks in defense of Tatiana?

A New Year's Day vigil was held for the tiger at Ocean Beach — four people showed up.

The World Wildlife Fund places the tiger at "five minutes to midnight," meaning that their time is short. Only 5,000 tigers remain worldwide, down from an estimated 100,000 a century ago.

With the tiger population vanishing, Turner's conclusion is that we have to do more to protect the ones that remain. Enclosures should be safe and secure and zoo personnel well trained on how to use readily accessible tranquilizing guns.

As for Tatiana, Turner says: "She got a bad rap."

Joe Guzzardi is on the advisory board of PALS, People Assisting the Lodi Shelter. Contact him at
guzzjoe@yahoo.com.
 
 



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Monday, January 28, 2008

Tiger review team examines safety at San Francisco Zoo

Tiger review team examines safety at San Francisco Zoo
 
By Associated Press
Article Launched: 01/28/2008 02:25:25 PM PST
 
A team of tiger experts is examining the big cat grotto at the San Francisco Zoo, where a San Jose teenager was killed and two others injured in an attack Christmas Day.
 
Zoo spokeswoman Lora LaMarca said the three-person team sent by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which accredits facilities nationwide, arrived Saturday. The review is expected to be wrapped today, but the findings would not immediately be released.
 
At a city committee hearing today, officials said grotto renovations, including raising the wall around the tiger exhibit, would be done by early February.
 
The new exhibit is set to include barriers at least 19 feet high - nearly seven feet higher than the wall at the time of the attack that killed 17-year-old Carlos Sousa Jr. and injured Paul Dhaliwal, 19, and Kulbir Dhaliwal, 23. After the mauling, zoo officials acknowledged the wall was four feet shorter than the AZA recommended.
 
 
 



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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Tiger kills woman in Bangladesh mangrove forest

Tiger kills woman in Bangladesh mangrove forest
 
23 Jan 2008 13:34:46 GMT
Source: Reuters
 
KHULNA, Bangladesh, Jan 23 (Reuters Life!) - A woman was killed by a tiger in Bangladesh's part of the Sundarbans mangrove forest on Wednesday, officials said.
The tiger attacked while she was fishing in a swamp and forest officials retrieved her body several hours later, they said.
 
Around 300,000 mostly poor people live in areas surrounding the Sundarbans, home to around 400 of the endangered Royal Bengal tiger.
 
The 6,000 sq km (2,320 sq mile) part of the forest in Bangladesh, and a further 4,000 sq km (1,545 sq miles) into India's eastern state of West Bengal, is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
 
Tigers are responsible for about 10 deaths a year.
 
 
 
 


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Monday, January 21, 2008

Experts say taunting wasn't only factor in tiger attack

Experts say taunting wasn't only factor in tiger attack
 
By LISA LEFF and TERENCE CHEA
01/18/08 23:34:10
 
Police believe the three zoo visitors who were mauled by a tiger yelled and waved at the cat from atop a railing before it lunged at them, but experts say that's only a notch up from the type of taunting animals regularly endure at the nation's zoos.
 
One study concluded that as many as one in four zoo visitors razz the animals in some way, and large predators like tigers are a prime target.
 
Paul Dhaliwal, one of the two surviving victims, told the father of the teenager killed in the Christmas Day attack that while the three climbed the 3-foot-tall railing and tried to get the tiger's attention, they never threw or dangled anything into the pen, according to a search warrant affidavit filed late Thursday.
 
Dhaliwal, 19, was severely injured when the 250-pound Siberian tiger named Tatiana clawed its way up the wall of its enclosure, leapt out and mauled him. His brother, Kulbir, 24, was also injured, and their friend, 17-year-old Carlos Sousa Jr., was killed.
 
The tiger "may have been taunted/agitated by its eventual victims," Inspector Valerie Matthews wrote in the affidavit. Police believe "this factor contributed to the tiger escaping from its enclosure and attacking its victims," she wrote.
 
All three victims had marijuana in their systems, and Paul Dhaliwal's blood alcohol level was 0.16 - twice the legal limit for driving, according to the affidavit.
 
"Clearly there's the lesson to be learned here," said zoo spokesman Sam Singer. "The lesson is that it's not a good idea to drink, it's not a good idea to be high on dope, and it's not a good idea to taunt a man-eating tiger."
 
Authorities were weighing whether to seek criminal charges against the Dhaliwals, but their lawyer, Mark Geragos, said they have presented no evidence of a crime. Geragos, who has repeatedly said the brothers didn't taunt the tiger, also noted that the affidavit does not specify any possible counts.
 
"Basically, they're arguing that if you go to the zoo and wave at the animals, you get the death penalty," he said. "And that's just nonsense."
 
David Kestenbaum, a criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles who has followed the case, said investigators could be pursuing misdemeanor charges related to possessing marijuana, trespassing or giving alcohol to a minor.
 
But he does not believe the evidence police have revealed so far would support felony charges unless there is evidence the three young men conspired to get the animal out of its cage.
 
"I don't see a felony based on the facts that are public at this point," Kestenbaum said. "I think the combination of the marijuana, alcohol and youth made this a poor judgement call, but it's not something they foresaw the consequences of."
 
Some animal behaviorists said Friday that the visitors' alleged actions would not exonerate the zoo or its accrediting agency, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
 
Zoo officials have acknowledged the wall surrounding the tiger's open air enclosure was four feet lower than recommended by the AZA. The same tiger, a female named Tatiana, ripped the flesh off a zookeeper's arm in December 2006. After that attack, the zoo revamped the bars enclosing the indoor cages where she and other big cats were kept.
 
"Taunting or not, I just think it's incumbent on the AZA and the zoos to have taunt-proof cages," said wildlife biologist Marc Bekoff, a professor emeritus of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder. "If you are going to have an animal like a Siberian tiger or other predators, you have to protect the public."
 
Bekoff said taunting is common at zoos. He said students in his animal behavior courses during the 1990s found that 20 to 25 percent of zoo visitors taunted the animals - especially predators such as lions and tigers - by mimicking, yelling, throwing things at them or otherwise aggravating them.
 
"This is not an isolated incident and the zoo is trying to wrangle itself out," he said. "The kids were not responsible for Tatiana being shipped around like a couch. The kids were not responsible for the enclosure being inadequate. The kids are responsible for the taunting."
Stephen Zawistowski, science adviser for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, also said taunting probably is not the sole reason for the attack.
 
"When something like this happens, what you find is it's almost never that there was one single thing that went wrong," said Zawistowski. "It's a cascade of things.
 
"The wall wasn't a height that was appropriate; there was an animal with a past history; there was nobody there to keep track of it; there were people there harassing it. When you click down that list and they all align, you end up with a tragedy," he said.
 
Zoos frequently have docents or keepers on hand to prevent animals from being harassed, but the San Francisco Zoo has refused to disclose how many employees were working when the attack occurred as the zoo was closing on Christmas Day.
 
The search warrant affidavit cites multiple reports to police of people taunting animals at the zoo that day. They included a report of a man and a woman throwing rocks at the lions about an hour before Tatiana escaped. Witnesses also told police they saw penguins and monkeys being harassed by groups of four or five male visitors.
 
After the attack, the zoo posted new signs asking visitors to be respectful of the animals.
 
 
 
 


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Saturday, January 19, 2008

Police: Tiger victim had been drinking

Police: Tiger victim had been drinking
 
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — One of the three victims of San Francisco Zoo tiger attack was intoxicated and admitted to yelling and waving at the animal while standing atop the railing of the big cat enclosure, police said in court documents filed Thursday.
Paul Dhaliwal, 19, told the father of Carlos Sousa Jr., 17, who was killed, that the three yelled and waved at the tiger but insisted they never threw anything into its pen to provoke the cat, according to a search warrant affidavit obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle.
 
"As a result of this investigation, (police believe) that the tiger may have been taunted/agitated by its eventual victims," according to Inspector Valerie Matthews, who prepared the affidavit. Police believe that "this factor contributed to the tiger escaping from its enclosure and attacking its victims," she said.
 
Sousa's father, Carlos Sousa Sr., said Dhaliwal told him the three stood on a 3-foot-tall metal railing a few feet from the edge of the tiger moat. "When they got down they heard a noise in the bushes, and the tiger was jumping out of the bushes on him (Paul Dhaliwal)," the documents said.
 
Police found a partial shoe print that matched Paul Dhaliwal's on top of the railing, Matthews said in the documents.
 
The papers said Paul Dhaliwal told Sousa that no one was dangling his legs over the enclosure. Authorities believe the tiger leaped or climbed out of the enclosure, which had a wall 4 feet shorter than the recommended minimum.
 
The affidavit also cites multiple reports of a group of young men taunting animals at the zoo, the Chronicle reported.
 
Mark Geragos, an attorney for the Dhaliwal brothers, did not immediately return a call late Thursday by The Associated Press for comment. He has repeatedly said they did not taunt the tiger.
 
Calls to Sousa and Michael Cardoza, an attorney for the Sousa family, also weren't returned.
 
Toxicology results for Dhaliwal showed that his blood alcohol level was 0.16 — twice the legal limit for driving, according to the affidavit. His 24-year-old brother, Kulbir, and Sousa also had alcohol in their blood but within the legal limit, Matthews wrote.
 
All three also had marijuana in their systems, Matthews said. Kulbir Dhaliwal told police that the three had smoked pot and each had "a couple shots of vodka" before leaving San Jose for the zoo on Christmas Day, the affidavit said.
 
Police found a small amount of marijuana in Kulbir Dhaliwal's 2002 BMW, which the victims rode to the zoo, as well as a partially filled bottle of vodka, according to court documents.
Investigators also recovered messages and images from the cellphones, but apparently nothing incriminating in connection with the tiger attack, the Chronicle reported.
 
Zoo spokesman Sam Singer said he had not seen the documents but believed the victims did taunt the animal, even though they claim they hadn't.
 
"Those brothers painted a completely different picture to the public and the press," Singer said. "Now it's starting to come out that what they said is not true."
 
 
 


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Tiger kills one more

Tiger kills one more
 
Sat, Jan 19 12:25 AM
 
A tiger killed a shepherd near Mul in Chandrapur district (150 km from Nagpur) on Thursday. The victim, Kalidas Masram (45), a leprosy patient, was an inmate of Baba Amte's Somnath ashram near the popular Tadoba tiger project.
 
His body was recovered on Friday. Sources said the tiger attacked him and dragged the body into the forest.
 
Angry villagers and ashram inmates demanded authorities should kill the tiger immediately. Range forest officer Arun Tikhe told HT that the villagers had been told not to move in the area after dark, and that compensation of Rs 2 lakh would be given to the family members of the victim.
 
Masram is the 22nd victim in Chandrapur since January 2007.
 
 
 


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Officials weigh charges against tiger victims

Officials weigh charges against tiger victims
 
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Police believe the three people mauled by a tiger yelled and waved at the cat from atop a railing before it lunged at them, but experts say that's only a notch up from the type of taunting animals regularly endure at the nation's zoos.
 
One study concluded that as many as one in four zoo visitors razz the animals in some way, and large predators like tigers are a prime target.
 
Paul Dhaliwal, one of the two surviving victims, told the father of the teenager killed in the Christmas Day attack that while the three climbed the 3-foot-tall railing and tried to get the tiger's attention, they never threw or dangled anything into the pen, according to a search warrant affidavit filed late Thursday.
 
Dhaliwal, 19, was severely injured when the 250-pound Siberian tiger named Tatiana clawed its way up the wall of its enclosure, leapt out and mauled him. His brother, Kulbir, 24, was also injured, and their friend, 17-year-old Carlos Sousa Jr., was killed.
 
The tiger "may have been taunted/agitated by its eventual victims," Inspector Valerie Matthews wrote in the affidavit. Police believe "this factor contributed to the tiger escaping from its enclosure and attacking its victims," she wrote.
 
All three victims had marijuana in their systems, and Paul Dhaliwal's blood alcohol level was 0.16 — twice the legal limit for driving, according to the affidavit.
 
"Clearly there's the lesson to be learned here," said zoo spokesman Sam Singer. "The lesson is that it's not a good idea to drink, it's not a good idea to be high on dope, and it's not a good idea to taunt a man-eating tiger."
 
Authorities were weighing whether to seek criminal charges against the Dhaliwals, but their lawyer, Mark Geragos, said they have presented no evidence of a crime. Geragos, who has repeatedly said the brothers didn't taunt the tiger, also noted that the affidavit does not specify any possible counts.
 
"Basically, they're arguing that if you go to the zoo and wave at the animals, you get the death penalty," he said. "And that's just nonsense."
 
David Kestenbaum, a criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles who has followed the case, said investigators could be pursuing misdemeanor charges related to possessing marijuana, trespassing or giving alcohol to a minor.
 
"I don't see a felony based on the facts that are public at this point," Kestenbaum said.
Some animal behaviorists said Friday that the visitors' alleged actions would not exonerate the zoo or its accrediting agency, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
 
Zoo officials have acknowledged the wall surrounding the tiger's open-air enclosure was four feet lower than recommended by the AZA. The same tiger ripped the flesh off a zookeeper's arm in December 2006. After that attack, the zoo revamped the bars enclosing the indoor cages where she and other big cats were kept.
 
"Taunting or not, I just think it's incumbent on the AZA and the zoos to have taunt-proof cages," said wildlife biologist Marc Bekoff, a professor emeritus of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder. "If you are going to have an animal like a Siberian tiger or other predators, you have to protect the public."
 
Bekoff said taunting is common at zoos. He said students in his animal behavior courses during the 1990s found that 20 to 25% of zoo visitors taunted the animals — especially predators such as lions and tigers — by mimicking, yelling, throwing things at them or otherwise aggravating them.
 
"This is not an isolated incident and the zoo is trying to wrangle itself out," he said. "The kids were not responsible for Tatiana being shipped around like a couch. The kids were not responsible for the enclosure being inadequate. The kids are responsible for the taunting."
Stephen Zawistowski, science adviser for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, also said taunting probably is not the sole reason for the attack.
 
"When something like this happens, what you find is it's almost never that there was one single thing that went wrong," said Zawistowski. "It's a cascade of things.
 
"The wall wasn't a height that was appropriate; there was an animal with a past history; there was nobody there to keep track of it; there were people there harassing it. When you click down that list and they all align, you end up with a tragedy," he said.
 
Zoos frequently have docents or keepers on hand to prevent animals from being harassed, but the San Francisco Zoo has refused to disclose how many employees were working when the attack occurred as the zoo was closing on Christmas Day.
 
The search warrant affidavit cites multiple reports to police of people taunting animals at the zoo that day. They included a report of a man and a woman throwing rocks at the lions about an hour before Tatiana escaped. Witnesses also told police they saw penguins and monkeys being harassed by groups of four or five male visitors.
 
After the attack, the zoo posted new signs asking visitors to be respectful of the animals.
On Friday, a judge ruled that lawyers for the city may inspect the two survivors' cellphones, but not their car.
 
The judge said the city did not present evidence to justify examining the car's contents, but permitted an inspection of the phones because any photos stored on them within an hour before and after the tiger got of its enclosure might shed light on what led up to the attacks.
 
 
 


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Cops search car, phones of tiger victims

Cops search car, phones of tiger victims
 
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — San Francisco police on Wednesday searched the cellphones and car of two brothers mauled by a zoo tiger on Christmas day, looking for evidence that they may have provoked the animal, which also killed a friend of the men.
 
"We're in the process of using the search warrant now," Sgt. Neville Gittens, a police spokesman, said Wednesday, adding that police would not immediately make public the findings from the search because the investigation remains open.
 
As police looked through the phones and car belonging to Paul Dhaliwal, 19, and Kulbir Dhaliwal, 24, the city attorney's office and San Francisco Zoo officials went to Santa Clara Superior Court to gain their own access.
 
Attorneys for the city and the zoo say they need to conduct their own inspection of the items to prepare a defense against expected lawsuits over the Dec. 25 tiger attack, which killed 17-year-old Carlos Sousa Jr. and severely injured the brothers before the big cat was killed.
 
Zoo officials have acknowledged that the wall separating the big cats from the public is only 12-feet tall — 4 feet lower than the recommended minimum.
 
In court documents, the city and the zoo contend that the car and phones may contain evidence that the young men from San Jose drank, used drugs and taunted the tiger the night of the attacks.
 
"We know that something happened out there in the zoo that motivated this tiger," Deputy City Attorney Sean Connolly told reporters outside the courthouse.
 
Judge Socrates Manoukian said he would not announce any decisions until Friday about whether the city attorney's office could inspect the items.
 
The phones and the car have been in San Francisco police custody since the night of the attacks pending the outcome of a criminal investigation, though the department has given little indication that they believe the young men had done anything wrong. Police investigators have previously said the car contained an empty vodka bottle.
 
The search warrant also allows them to search the contents of the phones. The city attorney's office has argued that the phones may include photos, text messages and call logs that could help them reconstruct events the night of the attacks.
 
A lawyer for the brothers called the city's attempt to examine his clients' personal property "unlawful."
 
"They didn't commit any crimes, and they didn't do anything to get those tigers to jump out," said Shepard Kopp, who is representing the Dhaliwals along with prominent California defense lawyer Mark Geragos. "There's nothing on those phones that's going to show these guys taunted or provoked this tiger in any way."
 
 
 


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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Tiger kills man

Tiger kills man
 
Sagar Island, Jan. 14: A fisherman was mauled to death by a tiger in the Sunderbans on Sunday.
 
Forest officials and fellow fishermen found Swapan Halder's half-eaten body deep in the forest today.
 
Halder, 45, and four others from Kultali had set out with their boat on the Matla on Saturday. They were standing on the riverbank yesterday when the tiger pounced on Halder from behind.
 
An alert has been sounded for fishermen casting their nets near Kalash Island, 250km south of Calcutta.
 
 
 


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Saturday, January 12, 2008

S.F. locates evidence in tiger attack case

S.F. locates evidence in tiger attack case
 
Published: Jan. 11, 2008 at 2:32 PM

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 11 (UPI) -- Officials say there is potential evidence supporting the idea that three young men may have provoked a Christmas Day tiger attack at the San Francisco Zoo.

The Siberian tiger somehow escaped from its enclosure and attacked the three. One was killed and the other two were injured before police killed the big cat.

The San Francisco Attorney's office said apparent evidence of drug use was discovered in the car the three men had driven to the zoo the day of the deadly mauling.

Although there is no direct evidence the victims teased or taunted the animal, the San Francisco Chronicle said Friday that drug use could support the theory and help defend the zoo and the city in pending civil litigation.

The newspaper said investigators also located evidence that could link the men to foreign objects found in the tiger's enclosure.
 
 
 


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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Man takes on tiger in Russian Far East - tiger wins

Man takes on tiger in Russian Far East - tiger wins
 
01/10/2008 11:29
 
VLADIVOSTOK, January 10 (RIA Novosti) - Wildlife
officers are investigating an attack by a tiger on a man in the
Khabarovsk territory in Russia's Far East, the deputy chief of a
local wildlife watchdog said on Thursday.
 
The man, who suffered lacerations on both arms as well as fractured
ribs, had driven to the taiga region on January 1 with his brother to
celebrate the New Year.
 
"We are guessing that the victim may have provoked the attack
himself, as these predators normally don't attack humans without
cause," said Vitaly Starostin.
 
Starostin said that the victim was so drunk at the moment of the
attack that could not remember the place where he had met the animal.
Later he was only able to roughly point out two areas in the forest
where the attack may have taken place. The spots were some 20 km (12
miles) apart.
 
Siberian tigers, also known as Amur tigers, are the world's largest
subspecies of tigers. They are on the World Conservation Union's
critically endangered status list, with about 500 of them left in the
wild.
 
On December 25, 2007, a Siberian tiger named Tatiana escaped its
enclosure in the San Francisco zoo, killing one person and injuring
two before being shot dead.
 
 
 
 
 
 


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Animal experts debate tiger safety

Animal experts debate tiger safety
 
By ADAM GOLDMAN, Associated Press Writer
Wed Jan 9, 6:17 PM ET
 
A tiger lurked in the tall grass at a park in India as gamekeepers tried to shoot it with a dart gun and missed. The animal suddenly sprang from the grass, sailed through the air and took a swipe at a man sitting on an elephant's back.
 
The man lost three fingers.
 
"I could never imagine that a tiger could so effortlessly leap from the ground on to an adult elephant's head, which is at least 12 feet above the ground," Vivek Menon, executive director of Wildlife Trust of India, said of the 2004 attack, a video of which has been circulating on YouTube.
 
That attack — along with other examples of explosive encounters with tigers — are stoking a debate that began after a 350-pound Siberian tiger climbed over the 12 1/2-foot wall around its pen at the San Francisco Zoo on Christmas Day and mauled three visitors, killing one.
Among the questions experts are now asking: How high can tigers jump? And have zoos and sanctuaries dangerously underestimated tigers?
 
That is to say: Are the walls high enough?
 
"We are evaluating that right now," said Vernon Weir, director of the American Sanctuary Association, which has about 35 members, only a few of which have big cats. The ASA accredits sanctuaries and in the past recommended 12-foot fences.
 
Similarly, Association of Zoos & Aquariums, which accredits the nation's zoos, may adjust its 16.4-foot wall-height recommendation for tigers once it learns fully what happened in San Francisco, spokesman Steve Feldman said.
 
In San Francisco, the wall was well below the AZA minimum. But several other major U.S. zoos appear to meet or exceed the standards, with high walls topped in many cases with electrified wire or pronounced overhangs to prevent tigers from pulling themselves up and over the side.
 
Animal experts said they aren't aware of any hard numbers about the precise leaping ability of tigers. They said it depends on the animal and whether it has been taunted, as may have happened in the San Francisco tragedy. But Feldman said his organization's 16.4-foot figure was based on the opinions of a group of experts.
 
There are well-publicized examples of tigers' phenomenal leaping ability.
 
In an incident at a national park in Nepal in 1974, an enraged Bengal tiger protecting her cubs mauled a researcher who had climbed into a tree. The tiger managed to climb onto a 15-foot-high limb.
 
"She just went right up and she didn't have much to hold onto. She clearly made that jump without much problem," said Melvin Sunquist, professor of wildlife ecology at the University of Florida and an expert on tigers.
 
Sunquist, who published an account of the Nepal attack in his book "Tiger Moon: Tracking the Great Cats of Nepal," said he wasn't surprised by the news that a tiger had gotten out of its cage in San Francisco.
 
"I saw what a tigress can do," he said. "If they can get a purchase on anything, they can get up there."
 
Dale Miquelle, director of Wildlife Conservation Society's program in Russia, said he has seen tigers do many unusual things, such as climbing to the top of large trees when incensed — something tigers don't normally do.
 
"What animals normally do, and what they can do, are often very different things," Miquelle said.
 
The AZA said it has 216 accredited members with 258 tigers among them. Only five of them were born in the wild, and tigers in captivity generally cannot jump as high as those that are in top condition from hunting in the wild.
 
Louis Dorfman, an animal behaviorist and chairman of the International Exotic Animal Sanctuary in Texas, oversees 24 tigers at his sanctuary, including an 11-year-old Bengal-Siberian tiger that weighs about 550 pounds and extends about 11 feet paw-to-paw when it stretches like a housecat.
 
Dorfman said his tigers have never tried to scale their fences, but warned: "With provocation, they're capable of unbelievable aggression and power. These cats are a combination of strong instincts, strong emotion and no inhibition."
 
Zoo visitors running back and forth can resemble prey to a tiger. Throwing objects at a tiger or dangling something can also trigger its predatory instincts.
 
"First and foremost, people need to be educated. We need to respect them accordingly," said Jonathan Kraft, who runs Keepers of the Wild in Arizona, which has more than 20 tigers. In the San Francisco escape, "I would bet my reputation that the animal was taunted."
 
 
 


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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Wayward dog climbs into Tiger area at Memphis Zoo

Wayward dog climbs into Tiger area at Memphis Zoo
 
Updated: Jan 8, 2008 06:16 PM EST
 
A dog described as a lab or golden retriever is being treated for puncture wounds after climbing into the tiger area of Cat Country at the Memphis Zoo on Tuesday.
 
The dog ran into the zoo through a service entrance around one o'clock Tuesday afternoon.
After about 15 minutes of running from zoo workers, the dog leapt over this visitor barrier, swam through the tiger's moat, and made it onto dry land in the tiger exhibit.
 
One of the two tigers in the exhibit attacked the dog leaving him with cuts.
 
"Our security team mobilized our team, curators and zoo keepers involved, used noise makers and smoke to help keep the two of them separate, once we were able to separate them the tiger saw that it's night house was opened so it went in night house," zoo spokesperson Brian Carter said.
 
The dog was able to walk out of the exhibit.
 
The tigers were taken off exhibit Tuesday to give them some time to cool down.
 
The Memphis Zoo says the tiger exhibit is made to keep the tigers in. It is not made to keep other animals, which aren't allowed into the zoo, out.
 
The zoo said the dog did a have rabies vaccination tag on it's collar.
 
The dog will be transferred to Animal Services who will then work to contact the dog's owner.
 
 
 


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Emergency order bars tiger survivors from getting their car, phones

Emergency order bars tiger survivors from getting their car, phones
 
Audrey Cooper, Chronicle Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
 
(01-08) 15:49 PST SAN FRANCISCO - -- San Francisco city officials have obtained an emergency court order that prevents police from giving back the cell phones and car belonging to the two survivors of the tiger attack at the zoo.
 
City Attorney Dennis Herrera said the court order was necessary to preserve evidence that may help the city fight any lawsuits filed by the survivors, Paul Dhaliwal, 19, and his 23-year-old brother, Kulbir Dhaliwal, both of San Jose.
 
The brothers were mauled Christmas Day by an escaped tiger that killed a 17-year-old friend, Carlos Sousa Jr. of San Jose. Sousa's funeral was this morning.
 
Although police have said they have no proof that the young men taunted the 350-pound Siberian tiger, city and zoo officials have speculated that evidence in the car or photos in the cell phones' cameras may help determine why the tiger jumped out of its outdoor exhibit.
 
Police do not now have legal grounds to search the car or the phones.
 
In a statement released by his office, Herrera said Court Commissioner Bruce Chan had issued the emergency order "just moments" before the Dhaliwal brothers arrived at a police station to pick up their belongings.
 
The phones and car will remain in police custody at least until a court hearing Friday. That hearing will help determine whether investigators from Herrera's office and representatives from the San Francisco Zoological Society will be allowed to inspect the items. The society is the nonprofit group that runs the zoo operations.
 
In his statement, Herrera said he was disappointed that the brothers' attorney, Mark Geragos, had not agreed to preserve the potential evidence in the car or on the phones.
"My office believed it was talking to Mr. Geragos in good faith to reach an agreement to preserve potentially relevant evidence," Herrera said. "It now appears that Mr. Geragos was just stalling until his clients could get to the Police Department to claim their cell phones and car. I am gratified that his gamesmanship failed and that the court will now be able to decide these important issues on the merits."
 
Geragos, who could not immediately be reached for comment, and Herrera have been trading barbs for several days. Geragos says city officials have engaged in a smear campaign against his clients to obscure the truth: that the brothers were attacked without provocation by an animal that the city owned.
 
Read the court order at www.sfgate.com/ZCAA.
 
Read Geragos' letter to Herrera: www.sfgate.com/ZBZG
 
Read Herrera's request to inspect the phones and car: www.sfgate.com/ZBYY
 
 
 
 


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Behaving like animals

Behaving like animals 
 
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
BY JOHN M. CRISP
 
TATIANA THE TIGER is dead, killed by police gunfire after she escaped from her enclosure at the San Francisco Zoo on Christmas Day. Only four people showed up on a nearby beach for a candlelight vigil in her memory, but many others are offering their sympathies through blogs and MySpace.
 
Considerable sympathy has been expressed for Tatiana's victims, as well; she badly mauled two young men and killed a third. That sentiment may fade pending the outcome of allegations that the victims had taunted Tatiana with slingshots before her escape. The truth could come to light in court; the two survivors have hired celebrity lawyer Mark Geragos to represent them against the zoo.
 
And they may have a case. A year ago, Tatiana mauled a zookeeper and the zoo was fined $18,000 for negligence. Furthermore, the moat wall that separated Tatiana from the public was only 12.5 feet tall, 4 feet short of the industry standard.
 
(I'm not sure why anyone believes that a 12.5-foot wall could confine a healthy tiger; the semi-feral cat that lives in my yard and measures, perhaps, 9 inches at the shoulder can surmount a 6-foot fence from a standing start.)
 
All in all, nobody is coming off looking very good in this unseemly incident, except perhaps Tatiana, who was just behaving like a tiger. And now she's dead.
 
But maybe this incident provides an opportunity to reexamine the ethics of confining intelligent, wide-ranging beasts like tigers, elephants and dolphins in zoos, aquariums and circuses.
 
Humane captivity
Unquestionably, our treatment of animals in captivity has evolved in humane ways since the days when zoos were little more than rows of squalid cages, an evolution documented in books like "Animal Attractions," by Elizabeth Hanson, and "A Different Nature," by David Hancocks.
 
But in spite of the best attempts of the best zoos, captivity for an animal like a tiger or an elephant is only a hollow approximation of the only place where a tiger's or elephant's life really makes sense: wild nature.
 
Of course, we go to great lengths to make ourselves feel better about confining these animals. We give them human names and train them to perform anthropomorphic tricks.
Naturalistic "habitats" are engineered to make us feel better about observing the confined life of an animal that, in the wild, would range over dozens or hundreds of square miles. We imagine that they are "ambassadors" representing their wild brethren. We mourn them when they die.
 
The stress factor
But even the most enlightened captive environment does little to meliorate the stresses that captivity imposes on these animals. Many of them -- particularly dolphins and killer whales -- have shortened life spans. Big cats like Tatiana often grow listless and develop captivity-related illnesses. Breeding becomes difficult. Many develop pacing behaviors and other unnatural tics that indicate their diminished state of well-being.
 
The public relations departments at zoos, aquariums and circuses spend considerable resources to convince us that these animals are actually "happy" or that somehow their confinement benefits the species as a whole.
 
But nearly all such institutions labor under a serious conflict of interest: in spite of gestures toward research, education and conservation, their primary goal is to amuse us and thereby serve the profit motive.
 
Perhaps objecting to the confinement of large, intelligent mammals is, as the Bible says, straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel. After all, each year we raise and slaughter millions of animals in wretched, miserable conditions in factory farms and industrial slaughterhouses. We breed them for pets, then often mistreat, neglect and euthanize them by the millions. We experiment on them. We race them and fight them in public and train them to fight each other. So why spend much energy worrying about a few tigers and elephants that, in comparison, have it pretty good?
 
In fact, captive animals are so much a part of our cultural landscape that they're almost invisible, except when we're amusing ourselves with a trip to the zoo or Sea World.
But civilization's survival over the next hundred years or so depends on a dramatic re-evaluation of its relationship with the entire natural world; the way we treat animals like Tatiana might be a good place to start.
 
John M. Crisp teaches in the English department at Del Mar College in Corpus Christi, Texas. Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service.
 
 
 


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Sunday, January 06, 2008

Small but heartfelt vigil held for tiger who attacked teen

Small but heartfelt vigil held for tiger who attacked teen
 
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
 
They lighted a bonfire Tuesday on Ocean Beach for Tatiana the tiger, an animal who created one tragedy and whose death was another one.
 
Four people showed up on the beach at dusk to hold candles, huddle by the fire and watch the first sunset of 2008. Turnout was modest but from the heart.
 
"It doesn't matter how many people there are, as long as there's someone," said Jon Engdahl, a San Francisco handyman who decided to hold the vigil.
 
He put the word out through Internet chat rooms and brought a few logs and some lighter fluid down to the beach just across the Great Highway from the zoo where the tragedy occurred exactly one week earlier.
 
Maybe New Year's Day is too full of parades and football to hold a wake, but it was the least humans could do, Engdahl said.
 
"That animal got a raw deal at our hands," he said. "Tatiana was being a tiger. We humans are the ones that make the choices. The tigers don't."
 
For a while, Engdahl thought he and his dog, McCoy, would be the only ones at the vigil. Then Larry Luthi, an antiques dealer from Daly City, showed up.
 
He said Tatiana, the escaped tiger who killed one visitor and injured two others on Christmas afternoon before being shot to death by police, was worth lighting a candle for.
"Her death was so wrong in so many ways," he said. "What a mess."
 
As the sun slipped into the sea, Donna and Paul Fappiano of San Francisco arrived with three small candles and lighted them, one by one. Their dog, Roxie, sat quietly and watched.
 
"We go to the zoo all the time," said Paul Fappiano. "I don't know how many times we've seen that tiger. She was so elegant and so beautiful."
 
He knelt and stirred the logs. Down the beach, surfers were riding waves, kids were flying kites, and lovebirds were sitting in the front seats of parked cars, smooching.
 
"Now she's gone and she isn't coming back," Fappiano said. "Humans have failed tigers.
"We annihilate their habitat, we take away their land, we bring them here, and then this is what happens to them."
 
His wife said she hoped people keep going to zoos. She's been a member of the San Francisco Zoological Society for 25 years and has seen a lot of tigers and eaten a lot of popcorn.
 
"Zoos aren't dangerous," she said. "They're less dangerous than walking down the street."
The waves washed up to within a foot of the bonfire and then, as if they sensed the solemnity, retreated.
 
Maybe New Year's is the wrong day for a wake, Engdahl said, but it seemed important to do something to mark the end of the most horrible week in the history of the San Francisco Zoo. He apologized several times to his fellow mourners for the low turnout, but everyone else seemed lost in their thoughts.
 
"Four people for a wake seems kind of pathetic," Engdahl said, as the bonfire flickered and began to give out. "But I felt I had to do something."
 
 
 


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Police examining items for signs tiger was taunted

Police examining items for signs tiger was taunted
 
SAN FRANCISCO, California (CNN) -- Police are investigating whether several items found in the enclosure of a tiger who fatally mauled a 17-year-old man show that the animal was attacked or taunted, San Francisco Zoo spokesman Sam Singer said Wednesday.
 
Police are examining a large rock, a tree branch and other items, Singer said.
 
"They [police] are trying to make a determination that those items or any other things that happened on Christmas Day were part of some attack on the tiger or something that angered Tatiana, causing her to come out of her cage," the spokesman said.
 
San Francisco Police Chief Heather Fong has said that a shoe print found on the railing at the tiger enclosure is being examined to determine if one of the victims climbed over the rail or threw their leg over the side.
 
"Something prompted our tiger to leap over the exhibit and all I can do is ensure that's never going to happen again at the San Francisco Zoo," said the facility's director Manuel Mollinedo Wednesday.
 
"Corrections" are under way at the habitat as the zoo prepares to reopen Thursday, he said. A series of temporary security measures will be in place, with more permanent improvements to follow. Those will include raising the wall around the tiger habitat to 19 feet, adding security staff and installing a speaker system to alert visitors in the event of another emergency, Mollinedo said.
 
The zoo's large cats will be kept indoors until workers complete the improvements to their enclosure.
 
A memorial area will be on display Thursday near the entrance to the zoo and visitors are encouraged to bring mementoes and tributes -- both to the mauling victim and Tatiana.
 
Signs are also going up at the zoo advising people to be respectful of the animals.
 
Meanwhile, the two brothers who survived the attack said they were denied help for at least 30 minutes by zoo security who did not take their pleas seriously, an attorney representing Paul Dhaliwal and Kulbir Dhaliwal said Tuesday, according to The Associated Press.
The 300-pound Siberian tiger apparently jumped a 12½-foot wall December 25 and killed Carlos Sousa and injured his friends.
 
The wall was determined to be nearly 4 feet shorter than industry standards. The dry moat between the wall and the exhibit, built in 1940, measures 33 feet.
 
A source close to the investigation said the rock found in the habitat measured 9 inches, and a tree branch and pine cones were found that came from trees that were not near the tiger's enclosure.
 
Zoo employees did not see the items in the enclosure before the tiger escaped, the source said.
 
Singer said zoo employees also alerted police to an empty vodka bottle in the car in which the young men came to the zoo.
 
He called the brothers' statement that they were ignored "unreliable."
 
The brothers tried to get help for Sousa after attempts to stop the tiger failed, attorney Mark Geragos said.
 
The animal first mauled Sousa and Paul Dhaliwal about 4:30 p.m., the attorney said, according to AP. While Sousa was seriously hurt, Paul Dhaliwal escaped, and he and his brother ran 300 yards to a zoo cafe where they had earlier eaten.
 
But the siblings were denied entry to the cafe because the zoo was closing, the AP reported. At that point the brothers lost sight of the tiger. The brothers then saw a female security guard who appeared "diffident" when she was informed of the escaped tiger, Geragos said, according to AP.
 
"Who knows what would have happened if the guard had acted earlier?" Geragos said. "But Carlos would have stood a better chance of not dying. And maybe the police would not have shot the tiger as well."
 
Investigators from the U.S. Department of Agriculture are at the zoo, the AP reported.
The USDA issued several letters of warning to the zoo in the 1990s, but the findings were described as minor. A 1999 letter talked about sanitation and food storage issues, AP said.
The zoo paid a $500 penalty for problems inspectors discovered with veterinary care in 1992 and a $1,425 penalty in 2000 for sanitation problems at one animal facility.
 
That was the most recent action taken against the zoo, according to USDA spokeswoman Jessica Milteer, AP said
 
 
 


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Saturday, January 05, 2008

Pair who survived tiger attack reportedly withholding photos from police

Pair who survived tiger attack reportedly withholding photos from police
 
By Linda Goldston
Mercury News
Article Launched: 01/04/2008 04:47:19 PM PST
 
Two San Jose brothers mauled by a tiger at the San Francisco Zoo on Christmas Day have refused to allow police to examine their cell phones for possible text messages or photos believed taken the day of tiger Tatiana's escape.
 
In a letter sent today to the brothers' attorney, celebrity lawyer Mark Geragos, San Francisco City Attorney Dennis J. Herrera asked that Paul and Kulbir Dhaliwal preserve "this potentially critical evidence."
 
"The digital content of your clients' cell phones, which we understand are currently in the possession of the police, may help reconstruct what happened at the tiger exhibit and cafe," Herrera wrote.
 
Geragos did not return a phone call from the Mercury News.
 
He told the Mercury News earlier this week that news reports of his clients taunting the Siberian tiger before she escaped from her grotto were not true. A friend of the Dhaliwals', 17-year-old Carlos Sousa Jr. of San Jose, was fatally mauled when the tiger escaped.
Sousa had tried to distract the tiger when she attacked one of the brothers. After Sousa was fatally mauled, the brothers ran to the zoo cafe. Police shot and killed the tiger.
 
The brothers have refused to speak publicly - or to Sousa's parents - about the incident. For police and city officials to examine the cell phones, they would need a warrant. To obtain the warrant, they would need to show probable cause.
 
"In the interests of getting to the real facts of this tragedy, we propose a simultaneous inspection of the car and cell phones by experts retained by your clients and the City Attorney's Office," Herrera wrote in his letter to Geragos.
 
The city attorney also noted "there have also been reports that there is evidence in your clients' car of possible alcohol consumption." San Francisco Police Sgt. Steve Mannina confirmed this week that a vodka bottle was in the Dhaliwals' car.
 
Herrera aid the inspection of the car and cell phones should take place "at the time the property is released by the SFPD and before you or your client take custody of it."
After the mauling, the area was declared a crime scene by police.
 
The zoo reopened Thursday for the first day since the mauling but was closed today because of the strong storm that battered the Bay Area.
 
Zoo employees had to clear several downed trees and other debris from the zoo grounds.
"Our zoo keepers went immediately into action, securing the animals, getting them into their night enclosures," said Lora LaMarca, spokeswoman for the zoo.
 
LaMarca said the rhinos and kangaroos refused to go inside and were allowed to remain out in the rain. "A rhino does what it wants to do," she said.
 
The zoo lost power at 8 a.m. and had not had it restored by late afternoon.
 
"We're just cleaning up all the debris and hope to reopen tomorrow," LaMarca said.
 
The zoo's big cats remained inside the lion house, where there are two very large cages, she said. Zoo keepers were paying more attention to all of them but especially to Tony, the 15 1/2 year former companion of Tatiana, the Siberian tiger that was shot on Christmas Day.
 
"I'm sure he's fine," LaMarca said.
 
The zoo has not decided if it will seek another companion tiger for Tony.
 
 
 


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SF wants access to tiger victims' phones

SF wants access to tiger victims' phones
 
By LISA LEFF, Associated Press Writer
 
The city attorney sought permission Friday to inspect the car and cell phones belonging to the two brothers who survived tiger attacks at the San Francisco Zoo, but the victims are balking, the attorney said.
 
Deputy City Attorney James Hannawalt sent a letter to the brothers' lawyer, Mark Geragos, asking him to make sure they preserve any photographs or call logs that were on the phones before the Christmas Day mauling that claimed the life of 17-year-old Carlos Sousa.
 
San Francisco police have the phones, but the brothers, Kulbir and Paul Dhaliwal, have refused to authorize investigators to examine the contents, according to Hannawalt.
 
"Your clients refused to cooperate with this request; consequently, no one has yet examined this potentially critical evidence," he wrote in the letter.
 
Police officials previously have said that an empty vodka bottle was on the front seat of the car the three young men drove to the zoo last week.
 
Hannawalt proposed having evidence experts from his office and others hired by the brothers inspect the phones and the car together when the police are ready to release it "in the interests of getting to the real facts behind this tragedy."
 
A message to Geragos' office on Friday was not immediately returned.
 
Geragos told The Associated Press earlier this week that he wants to get hold of his clients' cell phone records to see if they hold any information that would back up their claim that they tried in vain for over half-an-hour to notify the zoo the tiger had escaped.
 
City officials have been investigating the fatal attack to determine if the 350-pound tiger, which was shot dead by police, was harassed or teased in any way before she jumped or climbed out of her enclosure.
 
 
 


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Report: Taunting preceded tiger attack

Report: Taunting preceded tiger attack

Published: Jan. 3, 2008 at 8:01 AM

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 3 (UPI) -- A San Francisco woman said three of the men attacked by a tiger at the city zoo Christmas Day had been harassing the big cats beforehand.

Jennifer Miller told the San Francisco Chronicle she, her husband and two children saw a group of four young men outside the enclosure.

"The boys, especially the older one, were roaring at them. He was taunting them," she said. "The lion was bristling, so I just said, 'Come on, let's get out of here' because my kids were disturbed by it."

After the Millers left, a 350-pound female Siberian tiger escaped and mauled 17-year-old Carlos Sousa Jr., to death and badly injured two others before police killed it.

Miller said Sousa wasn't yelling at the cats.

"He kept looking at me apologetically like, 'I'm sorry, I know we are being stupid,'" she said.

At a Wednesday news conference, zoo Director Manuel Mollinedo refused to comment on whether taunting was suspected in the attack.

"Something prompted our tiger to leap over the exhibit," Mollinedo said.

http://www.upi.com/NewsTrack/Top_News/2008/01/03/report_taunting_preceded_tiger_attack/1663/
 
 


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At reopened San Francisco Zoo, sympathy for the tiger

At reopened San Francisco Zoo, sympathy for the tiger
 
By Jesse McKinley
Friday, January 4, 2008
 
SAN FRANCISCO: The giraffes were aloof, the penguins were show-offs and the rhinoceros refused to wake up. But among the human visitors at the San Francisco Zoo - as it reopened a little over a week after a tiger escaped and mauled three visitors, killing one - a lingering and conflicted sadness seemed to be a common emotion.
 
And while lawyers and spokesmen for the zoo and the victims parried in the news media, visitors Thursday expressed sympathies that were equally divided between the three victims and the tiger, a 4-year-old female Siberian named Tatiana, who was shot and killed by the police.
 
"This whole thing has just been horrible," said Ilona Montoya of San Bruno, California, celebrating her 60th birthday at the zoo. "It's horrible, that poor tiger. I mean, I feel for the poor kid who got killed, but he had to do something to that tiger to get her that angry."
 
The zoo's reopening came as questions continued about what caused the attack Dec. 25 that killed Carlos Sousa Jr., 17, and seriously injured Paul Dhaliwal, 19, and his brother, Kulbir, 23.
 
Sergeant Steve Mannina said that the San Francisco police had spoken to a witness, Jennifer Miller, but he would not describe Miller's account of the attack. Miller, who could not be reached for comment, was quoted Thursday in The San Francisco Chronicle as saying she had seen two victims taunt the tiger moments before it leapt out of its open-air grotto, which was surrounded by a moat and a concrete wall about 12½ feet, or 4 meters, tall.
 
Two inspectors are working on the case, Mannina said, but with no apparent deadline for their investigation. "It will be done when it's done," he said.
 
Mannina said the police found a bottle of vodka in the Dhaliwals' car at the zoo after the attack. He would not say whether it had been opened.
 
Mark Geragos, a lawyer hired by the Dhaliwal family, has strongly denied any suggestion that his clients did anything to provoke the attack. He said he had no comment on the police's reporting that they had found alcohol in his clients' car.
 
Geragos said he was considering whether to file a civil suit against the zoo on the brothers' behalf. He called Miller's account "demonstrably false."
 
"It clearly does not correspond with what the police know," Geragos said.
For their part, zoo officials said they also believed that the big cat had been goaded into attacking, but that they would wait for the verdict from the police.
 
"Obviously there's a strong feeling the animal had to be provoked," said a zoo spokeswoman, Lora LaMarca. "We've had big cats in those exhibits for more than 40 years, and this is the only time one has gotten out and mauled someone."
 
Still, even as the zoo tried to return to its normal daily activities, signs of the tiger attack were everywhere. Zoo officials had posted fresh notices throughout that warned visitors against a variety of provocations, like tapping on glass, making excessive noise and teasing. Security guards and baby strollers were in almost equal numbers throughout much of the zoo.
 
And while the monkeys and marsupials were lonely on a rainy, blustery afternoon, the Lion House, where the big cats reside, drew a steady stream of the curious.
 
Maria Lubamersky, a 40-year-old teacher from San Rafael, California, brought her three boys - 5-year-old twins and a 3-year-old - and a friend's 5-year-old daughter to the edge of the lion and tiger den to take a look. She said the children were aware that a tiger had attacked nearby, though she had not told them someone had died.
 
Lubamersky said the visit was a good way to teach them to respect animals, especially big ones. "They couldn't believe a tiger could jump that wall," she said. "Now they do."
 
Her friend's daughter, Rachel Reher, moved toward the protective glass to take a peek. "There's nothing in there," Rachel said, amazed. And then it was on to the penguins.
The zoo has locked its big cats inside the Lion House while crews build a glass extension atop the wall around the outside grotto.
 
Before the attack, visitors had a barrier-free view of the animals on one side, though from behind a 33-foot-wide moat topped by the concrete wall, which turned out to be four feet shorter than the height for big cat enclosures recommended by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
 
Zoo officials said the extension would raise the wall to 19 feet and would probably take a month to construct.
 
At the zoo's front gate, visitors have fashioned a small memorial to Tatiana, with flowers, stuffed animals and a golden scarf that reads "RIP Tati." Two animal rights groups also planned a vigil for the tiger and Sousa, to commemorate "the two young victims who died on Christmas Day at the San Francisco Zoo."
 
Brian Glover, 46, of San Francisco, who said he visited regularly with his 18-month old son, Atom, said he had come to the reopening to support the zoo. But he acknowledged that the mauling had left the institution with work to do.
 
"I expect this is a pretty good wake-up call for them, to check things out," Glover said.
 
 
 


For The Tiger
Dee

http://www.bigcatrescue.org
http://www.savethetigerfund.org
http://www.worldwildlife.org/tigers/


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Thursday, January 03, 2008

Tiger attack forces zoos to check how big cats held

Tiger attack forces zoos to check how big cats held
 
By James Janega
Tribune staff reporter
January 1, 2008
 
As it became clear an attacking tiger in a California zoo was able to leap from its cage last week, zookeepers at Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago removed a few inches of dirt and plants in the bottom of their tigers' moat to make it as deep as it was designed to be.

Just west of the city at Brookfield Zoo, zoo officials took tape measures to their large animal enclosures to reassure visitors -- and themselves -- that all was as safe in the zoo as they thought it was.

In the week since a tiger got out of its habitat at San Francisco Zoo, killing one visitor and badly mauling two others, zoos across the country have reviewed their enclosures for big cats.

The California investigation has centered on the 121/2-foot height of the tigers' moat, more than 2 feet shorter than recommendations, regulators say. On Monday, officials at the Chicago area's two zoos said they, like many other animal parks, have been reviewing the dimensions of their enclosures.

Even inches matter, they say.

The desire to ensure that zoo moats blocking big cats are deep enough has sent zoo officials out with tape measures and blueprints to look anew at their enclosures and the otherwise obscure guidelines for fences provided by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the group that accredits zoos across the country.

Association President Jim Maddy, quoted on the group's Web site, said there is no specific height requirement for walls and moats in tiger and other large cat enclosures, beyond that the cats "be secured to prevent unintentional animal egress."

Still, husbandry manuals for the association's tiger species survival plan offer two suggested heights, depending on the type of enclosure: A wall 14 feet high with a 2-foot overhang if the exhibit is enclosed by a fence that can be climbed, or a 15-foot-high wall if the exhibit is enclosed by a moat, zoo officials say.

The only corrective action in the Chicago area after the California incident has been at Lincoln Park Zoo, where the vice president of collections, Robyn Barbiers, said officials had reconsidered dirt and grass planted in the tigers' moat over the years to make the enclosure more natural.

Landscapers since Saturday have shoveled away "a few inches" of dry grass and soil around the edge of the enclosure's moat, returning it to a gravel bottom and blueprint specifications.

The dirt was always less than a foot deep, Barbiers said.

Landscaping or no, the moats in the Chicago-area zoos' big cat enclosures are taller and wider than in San Francisco, and meet or surpass the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' recommendations.

Lincoln Park's exhibit has a space for the cats that is 10 to 12 feet higher than the bottom of its 24-foot-wide moat. The wall on the visitor's side of the moat is 15 feet high -- perhaps a bit taller now that the grass at the bottom has been removed. Visitors are kept well back of the moat's edge by a fence and prickly bushes, so far away, that tigers in the moat can't even see if people are standing there, Barbiers said.

The zoo's Siberian tigers, 10-year-old Molly and 7-year-old Vahzhno, often hop into the moat, but zoo officials believe they've never hopped back up the same way. Instead, they have always exited the moat through a door to a ramp that returns them through a behind-the-scenes enclosure to the viewing area above.

Brookfield's moat is 23 feet wide, and deeper on both sides than Lincoln Park's. The animals' area is nearly 16 feet above the bottom of the moat; visitors stand more than 20 feet above it, their feet about 4 feet higher than the paws of the animals in the enclosure.

"Our tiger exhibit is quite safe," said Brookfield's vice president of animal care, Kim Smith. "We went back in and remeasured everything this weekend, so we would know exactly, because we felt that was prudent."

Likewise, it was "eyeballing" the exhibit in Lincoln Park Zoo -- and the grass in the bottom of the moat -- that led to the decision to re-landscape the tiger enclosure over the weekend, zoo spokesman Jack Wlezien said.

"Any time there's an accident like this in an accredited facility, it hits home. We have sympathy for the staff and certainly the people involved in the accident," Barbiers said.

"We reviewed our measurements," she said. "Mainly because we thought someone might ask."
 
 
 


For The Tiger
Dee

http://www.bigcatrescue.org
http://www.savethetigerfund.org
http://www.worldwildlife.org/tigers/


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