A Siberian tiger escaped from its enclosure at the San Francisco Zoo on Christmas day, killing one visitor and mauling two others before being shot dead by police, authorities said.
The attack, lamented as "tragic" by city officials, came a year after the same female tiger, named Tatiana, grabbed a zookeeper's arm during a public feeding, tearing into her flesh before she could be freed.
The zoo's tigers are kept in an "open grotto," not a cage, separated from the public area by a moat 18 feet (5.5-meters) wide and 20 feet (6.1-meters) deep and a wall taller than 20 feet, said animal care director Robert Jenkins.
"We don't know how it was able to get out," Jenkins told news reporters at the zoo.
"The tiger should not have been able to jump (out). This is the first thing we will be investigating," Jenkins said. "The animal appears to have climbed or otherwise leapt out of the exhibit."
Lisa: I hate going to the zoo, I feel so sorry for all the animals.
Homer: But captivity opens up a whole new world for them! In the wilds they would never experience boredom, obesity, loss of purpose.... You know, the American Dream!
Edit: Further investigation of the area has brought up some interesting stuff:
Police sources said a footprint had been found on a metal fence, suggesting that someone had climbed the fence to get closer to the big cats. Authorities were looking into whether the tiger escaped by latching on to a leg or body part.
The minimal evidence found at the scene included a shoe and blood in an area between the gate and the edge of the 25- to 30-foot-wide moat, raising questions about what role, if any, the victims might have had in accidentally helping the animal escape.