FOI Request Yield Insight Into Tiger Attack

The female Siberian tiger that fatally mauled a man at the San Francisco zoo on Christmas Day 2007, was likely provoked, according to a federal investigator.

Documents obtained by the Associated Press, state that “It appears the tiger was able to jump from the bottom of the dry moat to the top of the wall, and gain enough purchase over the top to pull herself out over the moat wall,” and “With my knowledge of tiger behaviour I cannot imagine a tiger trying to jump out of its enclosure unless it was provoked,” wrote Laurie Gage, a tiger expert who investigated the scene for the US Dept. of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

While the statement was written in a draft on Dec. 27, 2007, it was removed from the final version of the report because it was “irrelevant from an Animal Welfare Act enforcement standpoint,” said David Sacks, a spokesman for APHIS.

The documents were provided to The AP more than three years after a Freedom of Information Act request and they offer the first glimpse into the findings of the APHIS investigation and details from the scene written by some of the officers who killed Tatiana.

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