Saturday, March 01, 2008

The new "improved" San Francisco Zoo

You probably know that on Christmas Day 2007, a tiger escaped from the San Francisco Zoo, killing one person.

As members of the Zoo, we went back there about a week before the big cat exhibits were scheduled to reopen. All the newspapers said that the tiger exhibits were closed. Signs at the zoo said, "All big cats will not be on display until improved safety measures are put into place."

So imagine our surprise when we turned a corner and ran into this:

Um, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the creature I photographed above a . . . TIGER?

The same type of tiger that attacked and killed someone on Christmas Day?

The same tiger that the signs around the Zoo said "Were off exhibit for your safety and theirs"?

The tiger was about 12 feet from me, separated only by a thin wire mesh fence. Other than good common sense, there was nothing to prohibit me from sticking my hand through the cage.

A zoo employee who was standing nearby merely commented, "Aren't they magnificent?" To which I wanted to ask her, "What do you mean, 'they'? Isn't this the last one left after the other one got shot?" But good manners stopped me from making scene.

Luckily, we survived our encounter with the Big Cats, and took these other non-tiger photos:

Caroline & Katherine at the Meerkat Exhibit
(click on photo for larger view)

With Grandma checking out a big owl.
(click on photo for larger view)

Everyone is looking at the camera and smiling. A miracle!
(click on photo for larger view)

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