Experts doubt tiger could have escaped enclosure on its own

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

As police investigate the escape of a 300-pound Siberian tiger from its high-walled enclosure at the San Francisco Zoo, wildlife experts are disagreeing about whether it could have possibly leapt the 18-foot wall and 20-foot moat on its own.

The zoo's director of animal care insists the tiger, Tatiana, did not leave through an open door. He says that she must have either climbed or leaped out.

Naturalist Sy Montgomery, who has written about Tigers, says it is possible if Tatiana were amazingly athletic.

But Jack Hanna, former director of the Columbus Zoo, says the theory "doesn't add up." He says such a leap would be an unbelievable feat and "virtually impossible." And Ron Magill of the Miami Metro Zoo says even with a running start, it is unlikely a zoo tiger would be in the physical condition that might enable a wild tiger to make such a jump.

Hanna speculates that visitors might have taunted Tatiana and perhaps even helped her by doing something like putting a board in the moat.


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