Tiger escapes from cage at San Francisco Zoo, kills worker

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Tatiana at the Zoo.
Image: Matt Knoth.

A zoo worker is dead and two visitors are seriously injured after a Siberian tiger escaped from the San Francisco Zoo in San Francisco, California in the United States and attacked three people who were inside a cafe.

The tiger was shot dead by police who were called to the scene. They found the tiger attacking one of the zoo visitors when they killed it.

"Apparently, right around closing time -- there was a pen with four tigers in it -- one of the tigers got out. The tiger went into a cafe at the zoo and attacked a patron. That person ended up dying at the scene. They shot the tiger, and the tiger is deceased," said zoo spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge.

After the tiger attacked the worker, it then went on to attack the two other visitors. No names have been released, but reports say that the two injured visitors are male and brothers aged 18 and 19. The person killed is also being reported as male aged 23 who is reportedly a friend of the brothers. Both the injured individuals are currently receiving treatment at San Francisco General Hospital.

All animals were then counted and accounted for after the zoo was locked down, including the three other tigers that were in the cage. Earlier reports suggested that all of the tigers had escaped, which later turned out to be false.

The incident is currently under investigation, but authorities are not ruling out any possibilities, including possible negligence.

"We won't know until tomorrow whether this was negligence or intentional or how the tiger got out," said Sgt. Steve Mannina of the San Francisco Police Department.

The zoo has two different kinds of tigers, two Siberian and one Sumatran tigers. The Siberian tigers are named Tony and Tatiana while the Sumatran is named Padang. It is not yet known which of the two Siberian tigers was involved in the attacks.

Last year, another zoo worker was seriously injured by Tatiana while attempting to feed her, but survived the attack.