Another type of goofball is the bien pensant animal rightist, imploring the rest of us with this "cantcha see" plaint about the intrinsically confining nature of zoos. It does not seem to occur to these people that, especially with endangered species such as tigers, zoos actually serve as a redoubt of preservation of these species. I thought everyone knew this; it's not that complicated.
How long would Tatiana have lasted in the wilds of Siberia, game for poachers and assorted scumbags who ascribe arcane medicinal properties to the animal's organs? You know what's killing off tigers? Self-indulgent fuckheads and superstitious weirdos, who themselves oughta be shot, skinned, and parted out for folk remedies. Failing that, zoos are about the last best realistic hope for preserving what's left of these animals. There are more tigers in Texas than there are in the rest of the world; hell, there are probably more people named Carlos just in San Jose than there are tigers on this planet.
There are, of course, private foundations and sanctuaries, who do wonderful work. But they also have to rely on volunteer work, donations, and the local example I linked has to constantly deal with unwarranted harassment from paranoid neighbors. (Personally, I would be more than happy to live next door to them; Durham is a beautiful town, and I know first-hand that the facility is extremely safe.) Zoos, backed by municipalities and states, do not have to worry about such things (though many do receive substantial funding from private trusts and foundations).
Anyway, what's pissing me off about this stupid story is how idjits have allowed themselves to whipped into a paranoid frenzy over a freak accident which, the more information trickles out, looks less and less like a straight-up accident.
Other reports indicate that pine cones and sticks from elsewhere were found in the tiger's grotto. A shoe-print was found on one of the railings. No doubt there'll be more once the Dhaliwar brothers decide to talk, since apparently they have something to hide.
I fucking despise these puling, paranoid histrionics people indulge in every time there's a unique, if tragic, incident. These same people will climb into their grocery schooners and drive like assholes while talking or texting on their cell phones. They are more than 217 times more likely to blow their own brains out (lifetime odds 225:1) than to be killed by any mammal (other than dogs) (48,957:1). They are even more likely (200:1) to be killed by some sort of fall. People won't you see? Stairs and ladders, the silent killers! Oh, won't someone please think of the children?
It does appear that the SF Zoo may have misrepresented the dimensions on the wall height of the tiger grotto, and someone's going to get their asses sued for it. But the facility had also been inspected and accredited just a couple years ago. And perhaps the tiger would have just continued to go about its business if it hadn't been taunted. I don't know what sort of fucktard goes to a zoo to tease and provoke the animals, but one of the few sensible reader comments at the Chronicle site indicated that such things are commonplace.
We don't know that that's what happened here yet -- indeed, thanks to the recalcitrance and outright lying of the Dhaliwar borthers, we don't know much of anything. I suppose we'll find out more if this goes either to criminal or civil court, but in the meantime, the media would do well to exercise some responsibility, take a big chug from the STFU cup, and quit inciting these hooting dipshits.