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18 January 2008 @ 07:08 pm
Apparently after the recent fatal tiger attack on Christmas at the SF zoo, the zoo put up signs saying to respect the animals. Tatiana (the tiger who killed the teenager) wasn't the only animal harassed that day. There was an account of rocks being thrown at lions about an hour before, for instance, and several more.

And yet, the zoo can't really do the thing that would be most effective for its expense and difficulty. They can't put pictures of the mauled teenager *on* the "respect the animals" signs.
bayareajennbayareajenn on January 19th, 2008 05:10 am (UTC)
Maybe they could do a stick-figure representation? ;) http://www.flickr.com/photos/pluckytree/2137245073/in/pool-stickfiguresinperil/

On a more serious note, though, I quite agree, except that the zoo really was in the wrong. Every enclosure of a dangerous animal needs to be constructed such that if a person covered in meat was standing in front of it, the animal still couldn't get to them.

I was at the Santa Barbara Zoo last weekend, working in the herps house, and we could still hear people tapping on the glass. Opening the back doors to the enclosures, we caught adults and children doing it. All this in the wake of the SF Zoo incidents, and people are still taunting animals.
The Water Seeker: goth fairy closeupplymouth on January 19th, 2008 04:20 pm (UTC)
Because you said it...
Covered in Meat! My friend n and her awesome Halloween costume a couple of years ago...
bayareajennbayareajenn on January 20th, 2008 01:05 am (UTC)
Re: Because you said it...
Wow, that is weird/cool/horrific. :D I'm wondering if she lined the underside of it, and how she kept it from bleeding, etc.
The Water Seeker: goth fairy stage frontplymouth on January 20th, 2008 01:48 am (UTC)
Re: Because you said it...
It was definitely lined and I think it was with something absorbent... but I don't really know the details. She's back on the east coast and I never saw it in person.
(Deleted comment)
bayareajennbayareajenn on January 19th, 2008 11:48 pm (UTC)
By "standing in front of it," the "it" refers to the animal, not the enclosure. If the zoo is doing its job right, a person can stand, covered in meat, in front of the enclosure, on the enclosure, off to the side of the enclosure, on their head, dancing around, or any other way and position you can think of (and the stupider, the better, because when dealing with the general public, you are going to get people doing the stupidest things, like standing on a railing taunting a tiger), the animal should not be able to get to the human.

The kids behaved badly and did a stupid thing, but the zoo was still at fault for not providing a secure enough enclosure for the tigers. The kid didn't deserve to die. The other kids didn't deserve to be mauled. The tiger didn't deserve to die.

The zoo is going to pay through the nose for that loss of human life. The kids may get prosecuted by the Feds for taunting an endangered species.
msde on January 21st, 2008 09:05 pm (UTC)
I'm not up to date on the details of this, but I was under the impression that the SF tiger enclosure had been inspected several times and always passed inspection despite not being quite high enough.

Is the zoo liable, or the inspection agency?
bayareajennbayareajenn on January 21st, 2008 10:57 pm (UTC)
The zoo is. The "inspection agency" is the AZA. They passed AZA inspection because the AZA doesn't have any specific guidelines regarding the height, etc. Per the AZA letter to members, the media retrieved the 16' statistic from an old paper in which it was listed as a recommendation (I'll copy the exact quote for you when I have some time), and it's not an official measurement in any way. In fact, there are no official guidelines for measuring safe distances with regards to separating tigers from the public. Now, hopefully, someone will figure it out and zoos will be required (hopefully by federal law and not just AZA requirements, so as to cover non-AZA facilities and allow for reasonable enforcement) to implement those safety measures.
bayareajennbayareajenn on January 22nd, 2008 03:02 am (UTC)
Also, I should note that the USDA is also responsible for inspecting animal facilities, but those facilities that are AZA accredited generally get a free pass and the USDA does not inspect them. This is because AZA standards typically exceed USDA standards. I'm not clear on the USDA standards for tiger exhibits, or even if they have any (many animals are not regulated at all by either the USDA or the AZA).

Here is the information on the tiger enclosure requirements from the AZA letter I mentioned, written by Jim Maddy, AZA President and CEO:

"On Thursday, 27 December, Satch conducted a Today Show interview. Kris, Steve and I all continued to respond to phone calls and e-mails from members and the media. In addition, AZA provided a heads-up e-mail to the directors' list-serv and to the PR list-serv about a 1994 Tiger SSP Husbandry Manual that suggests a minimum wall height of 5 meters (16.4" [sic]) for a tiger exhibit. This suggestion is not a standard of accreditation. AZA's mandatory accreditation standards state: 'All animal exhibits and holding areas must be secured to prevent unintentional animal egress.'"

Pretty vague guidelines, eh? Easy to pass inspection that way. Nobody's out there with measuring tape or anything, that's for sure. Most likely (I hope, anyway) this tiger mauling will cause this to change, and guidelines to be determined, set, and required for all institutions housing dangerous animals.
msde on January 22nd, 2008 07:00 pm (UTC)
Thanks for filling in the details.
bayareajennbayareajenn on January 20th, 2008 01:04 am (UTC)
Heh...I should read my own post. The "it" does refer to the enclosure. But the point I have isn't where the person is standing, it's that zoos need to provide escape-proof enclosures.

If you wish, we can continue this discussion on my lj. I hate to hijack N's journal entry here. I wrote a post on this very topic: http://bayareajenn.livejournal.com/160128.html
rbusrbus on January 19th, 2008 06:56 pm (UTC)
the sign should say:

"Fuck with me and I'll kill your ass!"


"My ancestors ate your ancestors."


"R U Prey? Thinks I, U R!"
Kitty: stupid peoplecyclothemia on January 21st, 2008 10:58 am (UTC)
Yeah, they should show the mauled kids. I'm sorry, but I think that kids who decide animal cruelty is fun should get some real life experience as to why that ain't so. The only thing I was sad for was that they shot the tiger, who was just behaving appropriately for a tiger.