Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Why did the tiger cross the moat?
--David Mattingly, 360 Correspondent

The 911 tapes in the tiger attack at the San Francisco Zoo will probably play a role in future lawsuits but they don't answer a central question in this tragedy: what prompted the Siberian tiger to want to escape its enclosure?

Police found no solid evidence the tiger was being taunted before the attack. But tiger experts continue to say something had to trigger the animal to leap a dry moat and bound over a wall to attack the young men.

A zoo spokesman says employees found a branch and pine cone and a nine-inch rock inside the tiger enclosure that had no reason to be there.

The enclosure's wall was obviously inadequate. The tiger should never have been able to get out. Animal behavior experts add that the tiger shouldn't have wanted to, either.

Only three people knew exactly what happened that day, and one of them did not survive. The other two say they did nothing wrong.
Posted By CNN: 7:13 PM ET
  8 Comments
David,
I think something went on that the boys aren't telling. I mean that tiger had been in that zoo in the same enclosure for years and never attempted to get out to attack anyone. Something had to provoke her. Unfortunately I bet we will never find this out!

Cynthia, Covington, Ga.
Posted By Blogger Cindy : 7:29 PM ET
I'm not making light of this but really it's too bad you can't ask the tiger. The tiger was probably defending itself responding instinctively to some perceived threat (the reason tigers attack). The tiger would also probably tell the truth because it doesn't stand to gain millions from a lawsuit whereas these kids will (even if they did taunt the tiger they just have to live with the guilt of causing the events that lead to the killing their friend, but a few million a piece will make that all better, right?). I do hope you have someone cool like Jack Hanna or Jeff Corwin on to discuss all of this and give us real answers.
Posted By Anonymous Tammy, Berwick, LA : 7:40 PM ET
Why did the two survivors feel the need to retain a high powered attorney if they did nothing wrong? It makes them look guilty. I also find it hard to believe that a tiger leapt a 12 foot wall with no provocation, but proving that these young men taunted her is going to be difficult. It's such a sad story, and one these two brothers will have to live with forever.
Posted By Blogger Barbara in Culver City, CA : 7:42 PM ET
This is just preposterous! I'm no animal expert and I wasn't there when this attack happened, but from what I know that tiger had been there for years and never tried to escape or attack anyone, including the caretakers. So that tiger would suddenly, for no reason and without any provocation, jump a moat and 12 foot high wall to attack 3 innocent young men who curiously decided to enter the zoo just before closing time on Christmas Day??? GIVE ME A BREAK!!!

And that behavior of the young men after the incident speaks volumes. Of course, they won't admit they provoked the tiger. People who pick on helpless animals are the worst cowards of all. Another sad example of young people not having any values or respect for the life of others.
Posted By Anonymous Monika, Eagar, AZ : 7:47 PM ET
David,

The answer to your headline is, "To get at those people who were taunting her." The worst thing about all of this is that if someone had not brought this tiger, or its ancestors here in the first place none of this would have happened. Last time I looked the tiger was not indigenous to the United States. Maybe there is a good reason why.

I agree with the animal behavior experts, something must have provoked that animal to attack, but of course the "victims" would never consider lying about what really happened, would they? Right!

It’s not the tiger's fault, let's place the blame where it really belongs, on the people who brought her here, where she didn’t "belong."

Jo Ann
North Royalton, Ohio
Posted By Blogger Jo Ann : 8:00 PM ET
David/AC360:
This was a wild animal in a zoo.

This was NOT a tame animal in a zoo.

Obviously, the tiger was provoked.

Like what happen at the Siegfried and Roy show, wild animals are unpredictable.
Posted By Blogger Sharon from Indy : 8:07 PM ET
I can see both sides. This is one of the wildest animals in nature, we really don't expect them to act gently and placidly, do we? On the other hand, if you are innocent, you don't go get a high-powered lawyer - something is fishy about the boys doing this at closing time, and that they are using such a high-profile defense appears to show that they need to defend something.
Posted By Anonymous nick d - denton tx. : 9:08 PM ET
Regarding the tiger attack: Investigation should be made regarding the feeding of the tigers. This was a holiday. The zoo seemed short on staff. Were the tigers feed properly over these holidays. They may have been very hungry and would do these unusal behaviors such as jumping over the wall, just to look for some food.
Posted By Anonymous eb, louisiana : 10:59 PM ET
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