Report Rips Zoo in Tiger Attack

Facility was understaffed and unprepared for emergency
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 19, 2008 7:37 AM CDT
Paul Dhaliwal leaves the funeral of his friend Carlos Sousa Jr. in San Jose, Calif., Sousa was killed by a Siberian Tiger which escaped its enclosure at the San Francisco Zoo on Christmas Day of 2007....
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – When a 243-pound tiger escaped its pen and began mauling Christmas Day visitors, the San Francisco Zoo was painfully understaffed and ill-equipped to respond to the emergency, according to a new report. "The zoo is too often chasing problems," concluded the independent Association of Zoos and Aquariums of the attack, in which a 17-year-old visitor died and two friends were injured.

"It appeared that the zoo lacks enough supervisory personnel in the animal care department to effectively train, oversee, and enforce existing policies and procedures," said the report. The zoo says it has since addressed many of the concerns, reports the San Francisco Chronicle, including raising the tiger wall, improving staff training, and ensuring that zookeepers stay on duty until all visitors have left. (Read more San Francisco Zoo stories.)