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Tiger was taunted in zoo tragedy

Siberian tigers are beautiful and mysterious creatures – but their beauty should be admired from afar.

A terrible tragedy occurred at the San Francisco Zoo on Christmas Day. Three young men – two brothers and a friend – were attacked by a 300-pound Siberian tiger named Tatiana. The friend, Carlos Sousa Jr., died from his injuries and the brothers were released from the hospital. Sousa’s throat was slashed while he tried to scare away the tiger, CNN reported.

I am not an animal expert, but I spent six years of my life around tigers. I know that an attempt from an untrained person to scare away a tiger will be interpreted as a taunt. Currently, the police are investigating whether the tiger was taunted. They have found foreign objects in the tiger enclosure and a shoe print on the railing, according to CNN.

“Something prompted our tiger to leap over the exhibit and all I can do is ensure that’s never going to happen again at the San Francisco Zoo,” the facility’s director Manuel Mollinedo said.

That tiger was likely taunted, but the insufficient security measures at the zoo are also to blame. The tiger wall, separating their habitat from zoo-goers, was 4 feet too short. That is inexcusable and should have been corrected long before this incident occurred. A person should never taunt a carnivorous animal, but should it be angered, the animal should not be able to reach the taunter.

A wild animal, no matter how long is has been in captivity, will always remain a wild animal. It is no longer a wild animal until it has been fully domesticated, and it is common knowledge that a tiger is not a domesticated animal. A Siberian husky is a domesticated animal; a Siberian tiger is not.

I don’t think these men had the intention of getting attacked by the largest cat in the world, but I believe they made the flawed decision of mockin the animal.

According to, Siberian tigers avoid humans. Yet a few do become dangerous man-eaters. “These animals are often sick and unable to hunt normally, or live in areas where their traditional prey has vanished,” the site stated.

In a zoo, a tiger has constant access to prey and is kept at the utmost health by a team of veterinarians. Siberian tigers are also nocturnal hunters that prey on elk and wild boar – nothing remotely close to humans on a sunny afternoon.

The San Francisco Zoo has an advisory on its Web site that states: “Animals have feelings, so please don’t tease, whistle, yell, tap on glass, make excessive noise, or call out to them. Please do not throw anything into the animal exhibits.” In essence, don’t annoy the animals.

Unfortunately for these three men, this mistake has cost one his life, and the others an unimaginable amount of stress and heartache that no one deserves.