Slog News & Arts

Line Out

Music & Nightlife

« The Reverse Bradley Effect | Kelly O and Dan at the Adult E... »

Friday, January 18, 2008

Here Kitty, Kitty, Kitty

posted by on January 18 at 9:23 AM

News from the SF Zoo

One of the two survivors of the San Francisco Zoo tiger attack that left a 17-year-old dead told the victim’s father that the three had yelled and waved at the animal while standing atop the railing of the tiger’s exhibit, police said in court documents filed Thursday….

An autopsy conducted by a zoo veterinarian on the Siberian tiger after police shot it to death showed that the animal had been “very determined to get out,” Matthews said. Its claws were broken and splintered by clambering up the concrete moat wall, Matthews quoted the veterinarian as saying.

“This behavior may be consistent with a tiger that has been agitated and/or taunted,” Matthews said.

Taunting a tiger at the zoo is an asshole thing to do, of course, but it’s not a hanging offense. The boys, engaged in teenage assholery, had a reasonable right to expect that the zoo’s tiger enclosure would keep the tigers, you know, enclosed. This news will probably knock a couple of million off the city’s inevitable settlements with the two survivors and the estate of the boy that died. But let’s not forget that the walls of the enclosure were only 12 feet high, not the regulation 16.5 feet (tigers can jump 16 feet), and that zoo officials weren’t even aware of the exact height of the walls until days after the attack.

But for future reference: Taunting ferocious animals at the zoo is always a bad idea. Please make a note of it.

RSS icon Comments


I'm going to taunt the next Siberian I see.

Posted by Mr. Poe | January 18, 2008 9:28 AM

Taunting bears at the Eagle is also a bad idea, Poe...

Posted by NapoleonXIV | January 18, 2008 9:30 AM

I'd say something, but taunting the zoo tiger is probably no worse than taunting one of these well-armed, not-very-stable angry men. Who am I to judge?

Posted by elenchos | January 18, 2008 9:30 AM

still don't understand why the tiger had to be killed...

Posted by konstantConsumer | January 18, 2008 9:32 AM

i do believe that 16.5' is the SUGGESTED, standard-of-zoo-keeper-practice height for a big cat enclosure. it's not international building code. this enclosure kept tigers in it for 50 years.

and anyway, fuck tiger taunters. there's only 5000 tigers left, but we've got millions of idiotic drunken teenage assholes. we can stand to lose more.

Posted by max solomon | January 18, 2008 9:34 AM

to do the autopsy safely ??


yeah, they should have brought it to your bedroom

Posted by fairy boy | January 18, 2008 9:35 AM

@4: because the cops were scared shitless & when they located it, the tiger was actively mauling one of the little drunken taunting shits when it turned towards them & they freaked.

the tranq gun was in the hands of the keepers, not the cops.

Posted by max solomon | January 18, 2008 9:36 AM

At least you should test the waters first by say dangling a small child over the edge of the enclosure. But really, wouldn't it be more fun to smuggle a little yippy dog and toss it to the ferocious animals?

Posted by kinaidos | January 18, 2008 9:37 AM

I just look at it as evolution in action.

Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty | January 18, 2008 9:39 AM

4, the tiger had to be killed because the police had to be brought into it, and they did what they always do. had the zoo had a plan in place, with a tranquilizer gun and a net ready, then the outcome would have been different. i don't blame the kids, i don't blame the cops. i blame the zoo officials who should have known better. shame on them. (i live in sf).

Posted by ellarosa | January 18, 2008 9:39 AM

can we put up some graphic signs at the zoo that say something like "If you taunt the animals they may very well maul the fucking shit right out of you"

Posted by Bellevue Ave | January 18, 2008 9:42 AM

@5 I'm right there with you.

those animals spend their lives in jail. fuck the kids. fuck them.
the two survivors, if they did indeed stand on that rail and taunt, should spend THEIR lives in jail, for killing that tiger. As for that other guy...he killed himself.

Don't blame the zoo.

Posted by onion | January 18, 2008 9:45 AM

12 your logic is specious. they had no idea their actions would lead to the death of the tiger and their friend or their own mauling. they had no reason to think any of it would happen. they're just stupid teenagers, like most. the zoo officials, on the other hand, are college-educated, well paid INCOMPETENTS.

Posted by ellarosa | January 18, 2008 9:50 AM


regulation does not equal recommendation. 16.5 is and was not a regulation.

Posted by cochise. | January 18, 2008 9:52 AM

In fairness, the kids have the right to be presumed innocent.

At least until their Celebrity-Whore attorney drops 'em.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | January 18, 2008 9:54 AM

I agree with Dan and started to make the same argument with my wife when I realized that I was essentially taunting her and my life was in danger. Despite the fact that she can jump at least two feet, my living room has a flat surface and she's allowed to roam freely.

Are tigers able to discriminate between teenage verbal abuse and childhood "Mommy, look at the tiger!" arm-waving? I guess the zookeepers explain all of that during animal orientation when the tigers arrive at the zoo.

Posted by Will | January 18, 2008 9:56 AM

So, my understanding is that some evidence was recovered *inside* the tiger exhibit that indicates that one of the taunters may actually have been *inside* the exhibit... Not sure if that elevates their assholedom to some far-worse eponymous sphincter.

Posted by S. M. | January 18, 2008 9:59 AM

I don't have a problem with tigers mauling anybody at the zoo. But I'd prefer it if they were Christians...

Posted by Mr. Poe | January 18, 2008 10:00 AM

Oh, Dan, boys will be boys!

And too bad for them that tigers will be tigers.

Posted by mjg | January 18, 2008 10:01 AM

Taunting any animal that can kill you is a bad idea. The world isn't always as safe as it would seem.

Posted by lostboy | January 18, 2008 10:10 AM

Don't fuck with the kitty!

I agree with you Max comment #5.
Drunken assholes are a dime a dozen. They won the Darwin Award.
The tiger is priceless.

Jail the two teens that are still alive for taunting the tiger.

Posted by Betty | January 18, 2008 10:16 AM

@17: that was a rumor.

also that an empty vodka bottle was in their car.

the cops are playing this one close to the vest.

its only because one of them told his dad & his dad talked that we know this admission.

Geragos isn't controlling his clients well.

Posted by max solomon | January 18, 2008 10:20 AM

In my experience, if an animal wants out badly enough (aka if you look that delicious to him) he's gonna get out. That's why the college-educated, paid zoo keepers tell people over and over again to be respectful.... if you play nice with nature in a controlled environment, nature will 9 times out of 10 play nice with you. These idiots were there after hours and taunting an animal that just did what nature intended it to do. This is why WE HAVE RULES.

Posted by Marty | January 18, 2008 10:28 AM

So I was at the Omaha zoo once and made eye contact with a big Siberian tiger that had been padding around its cage. Due to my vast reserves of spiritual energy (perhaps even due to my vast reserves of sexual energy), the tiger reared up on its hind legs and would have given me a big old Siberian Tiger Bearhug had there not been a large thick glass wall between me and the tiger.

Moral: Fridays rock. Also, tigers are wild animals and do not listen to reason. Do not plan on rational behavior, and plan/act accordingly. Also: I have vast reserves of spiritual energy.

Dzien dobry.

Posted by Big Sven | January 18, 2008 10:30 AM

I toast your tragic boon, humaaan. You'll settle into your telling of the story over time.

Posted by Lloyd Clydesdale | January 18, 2008 10:35 AM

Take me to the Zoo Mr. Poe and we can see what happens! We can test the tiger to see if he likes Christians (me) or YOU! It all depends on who is cuter and tastier.

Posted by mj | January 18, 2008 10:35 AM

Taunting a tiger at the zoo is an asshole thing to do, of course, but its not a hanging offense.

No, but it is a mauling offense. A large part of me thinks the fuckers got exactly what they deserved.

Posted by Tlazolteotl | January 18, 2008 10:37 AM

I suppose another way of looking at this is that the tiger and the cage it was in are a product, and that the teenagers were using the product in a manner other than the one it was intended to be used in.

So, for example, when I walk on the Pike street overpass near the convention center, I can reasonably expect the bridge to hold me. If I lean on the railing, I can reasonably expect the railing to hold me. But if I walk on the railing and the railing bar spins or comes loose under my full weight, one might reasonably be able to argue that the railing was not intended to be walked on.

So I can see an argument that the tiger cage was not designed to contain a tiger that has been so enraged that it is injuring itself in its efforts to get out. And there is certainly a reasonable supposition that zoo patrons are not allowed to harass animals until they become so enraged they injure themselves. Therefore, the teens were exceeding the reasonably implied specifications of the product, and are partially liable for the outcome. Kind of like people who injure themselves huffing hairspray.

But that's just one possible argument. I can also see that the zoo operators would be responsible for operating an enclosure that can withstand all contingencies short of act of god earthquake type stuff.

Posted by Judah | January 18, 2008 10:41 AM

This is likely another rumor, but I heard that the dead kid was embarrassed by his friends' behavior. He then tried to lead the tiger away from them and died for it. If that's true, then every last penny of those assholes' settlement money should go to the dead kid's family.

Posted by keshmeshi | January 18, 2008 10:41 AM
The boys, engaged in teenage assholery, had a reasonable right to expect that the zoos tiger enclosure would keep the tigers, you know, enclosed.

No way. Nobody has a right to expect to get away with inappropriate behavior. We spend too many resources trying to protect the stupid from themselves. They got what they deserved given the circumstances.

Posted by PA Native | January 18, 2008 10:42 AM

I once spent part of an afternoon at the point defiance zoo watching the clouded leopard try to stalk me, pounce, bounce off the plate glass window, and do it all over again. He did it five or six times, in all.

While I admire the stick-to-it-iveness, I think he sorely overestimated the tastiness of my head.

I really hope that was not the one they used to take to elementary schools for zoo outreach. And if it was, I hope it didn't go unrewarded for its troubles. In some way.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | January 18, 2008 10:47 AM

What #30 said.

Posted by Mr. Poe | January 18, 2008 10:48 AM

The place where we really spent too much is in trying to cheat weaker countries out of their natural resources or simply take control of their whole country.

I have no problem with spending money to help people survive episodes of stupidity.

One thing that distinguishes the libertarian who constantly insults the name of Charles Darwin with their (lets face it, racist) misunderstanding of genetics and psychology is that they have this autistic need to categorize every person permanently. Everyone is for all time assigned to membership in the set of stupid people, or the set of smart people. You are labeled high value or low value and if a low value person is lost, it is a good thing.

This has a certain logic to it, but the thing these asperger's kids going around bestowing Darwin Awards can't get through their heads is that the evidence disproves it. Everybody is dumb in some ways and smart in others. Everybody is dumber and smarter at different periods in their lives. Some people happen to have what our current civilization values at this time, so they succeed, and other people would have done well in a different time but not today.

The good news is that people who think like this are ineffective: they waste their money buying blimps for Ron Paul, for example. And they also outgrow it. It's like the Ayn Rand phase: it's curable.

Posted by elenchos | January 18, 2008 10:58 AM

all this means is shorter lines at the bank...darwinism in action folks, you taunt a tiger you're going to get eaten. it isn't rocket science

Posted by kkl327 | January 18, 2008 11:00 AM

Let's not overlook the fact that the two survivors are adults.....only the deceased was under 18. They need to stop being called "kids", as it makes people think they were just being "kids".

Posted by cris | January 18, 2008 11:07 AM

And the tiger must be killed for its effrontery to the humaaan race.

Posted by Lloyd Clydesdale | January 18, 2008 11:08 AM

Tigers are predators and they were made to kill things four times their size! They have massive forelegs and huge teeth and duh, they were made to kill in an instant.
It's not unreasonable to expect the zoo to take extra precautions when dealing with a killer tiger like this and make the wall EXTRA HIGH AND EXTRA SAFE.
It's not like these kids were walking in the middle of a wild tiger conversation, they were at the Zoo.

A kid died and no matter how dumb his friends were being he did not go to the Zoo expecting to die and nobody should have been attacked.

I love the way people come here to slog screaming about how Christians or right wingers are so stinking judgmental and so many are ridiculously judgmental here at slog! It was the Zoos fault because the fence was too low~! They are going to get sued and I think it's just stupid that the media is going to hang these kids.

Posted by mj | January 18, 2008 11:09 AM

If the SF Zoo is liable, it's because they neglected to patrol the grounds and prevent idiots like these from taunting the animals. That's deserves a lawsuit.

Posted by crazycatguy | January 18, 2008 11:10 AM

Rare is the humaaan who goes to a party expecting to get beaten up for being a dickhead.

Posted by Lloyd Clydesdale | January 18, 2008 11:12 AM

Taunting a tiger at the zoo is an asshole thing to do, of course, but its not a hanging offense.

It is, however, an eating offense. Tragic that those kids got what they asked for.

Posted by monkey | January 18, 2008 11:16 AM

Once, as I was flipping through the channels, I caught an absolutely hilarious America's Funniest Home Videos clip.

A little girl was standing in front of the glass in a jaguar (or some other big cat) enclosure. Smiling and waving at the camera, facing away from the enclsoure. Big cat is furiously pawing at the glass trying to get at the little girl, clearly pissed at being taunted by such a delicious morsel out of reach. Adults are laughing and tell little girl to turn around. She turns around and immediately starts bawling uncontrollably.

Moral of the story: little kids crying is funny.

Posted by Julie | January 18, 2008 11:23 AM


Posted by Tigger | January 18, 2008 11:24 AM

The arguments for "they got what they deserved" seems to come down to this:

Tigers attack when taunted.

If that is a true statement, then the ZOO is absolutely at fault. They built the tiger cage, they displayed the tiger, they allowed guests, and they KNOW a certain percentage of people will act-up.

I think it's much more likely that for the entire history that the zoo has had tigers, despite all of the taunting that the tigers have withstood in the past, the tigers did not attack or were safely contained in their enclosure.

The taunters had a reasonable expectation that the enclosure could contain a tiger. The young men believed it, the ZOO believed it and everyone visiting the zoo believed it. It would be INSANE to take schoolbus-loads of children to a zoo if you believed that a tiger could be taunted out of its cage.

-The zoo's enclosure was/is faulty.
-The young men were assholes.

The "victims" don't deserve a huge cash payout, they also don't deserve to be mauled. Fix the cage, offer a moderate cash settlement and move on.

Posted by Will | January 18, 2008 11:42 AM

It should happen once a year. Zookeepers should lock the gates and free all of the deadly animals on the busiest day. We can call it Animal day.

Posted by Mr. Poe | January 18, 2008 11:46 AM

Sorry, Dan. I side with the kitty on this one.

The public, as consumers of zoos, have demanded we not keep animals locked in cages. We want to see animals in "natural" looking environments. It makes us feel like we aren't mistreating the animals. And we also want the animals nice and close, so we can see them easily. We don't want them too far away, where we can barely see them. The zoo provided what the public wants: a reasonably safe enclosure where they can easily see the animal that looks vaguely natural. It's all bullshit, of course, but that is generally where the zoo-going public is at right now.

The enclosure safely contained tigers for decades. These dipshits clearly did something far beyond the usual standing on a railing and waiving at the tiger (which probably happens many times a day).

We all learn this lesson with house cats: don't tease the kitty if you don't want to get scratched. The lesson doubly applies with really big kitties that can kill you.

Posted by Reverse Polarity | January 18, 2008 11:55 AM

I think a lot of people here have a weird cartoon impression of tranquilizers. You could pump a tiger with a lethal dose of them, and it'd still probably have enough adrenaline to fell a cop or two.

The last paragraph of what #44 said makes sense to me.

Posted by Dougsf | January 18, 2008 12:04 PM

@ 45, @ 35, @ 30, @ 5 are spot on! Thank god there are some here who are rational.

Ellarosa @10 that is a moronic statement. It's all "touchy feely" to think that the tiger could quickly and easily be injected to fall over asleep.

In the real world it takes upwards of 3-5 minutes. During that time the tiger was actively mauling one of the other shitheads when the police arrived on scene. They have a duty to end the danger. They can't wait to see if a zoo employee will go find a tranq gun, and sneak close enough to fire an effective shot at 1000 lb eating machine. You are clueless to the totality of circumstances, including the chaos, blood everywhere, half eaten dead guy laying out, the mauled person screaming bloody murder and an animal the size of a small Yugo with claws growling, and flashing his teeth with nothing to stop him from running you over in 5 seconds flat.

That enclosure had been in place for YEARS without incident. It met the standards in place. Think to yourself what extraordinary actions those MEN had to do to provoke him!

They deserved everything they got, and should be brought up on charges of animal cruelty and destroying zoo property (the tiger). Their actions were clearly negligent, they were adults, and they violated zoo rules.

We shouldn't have any pity for any of the individuals or their families. In fact we should fine them the cost of the damage done to the zoo by their foolish behavior, and they should have to pay the full costs to make the zoo whole, including the costs of rebuilding the enclosure.

I'm tired of idiots using the court system to profit from their stupidity.

I'll leave it at that.

Reality Check

Posted by Reality Check | January 18, 2008 12:26 PM

I think the tiger being able to get out would make an obvious statement the enclosure was not safe.

It does not matter how many years it appeared to be safe, the wall was too low.

43 said it well and makes a lot of sense.

Posted by mj | January 18, 2008 12:44 PM

If I was a tiger, I would maul the fuck out of people at any given chance. ESPECIALLY on Christmas Day.

I have genuine sympathy for the families of the victims and am bummed for that tiger, but, seriously, this story has some pretty epic and poetic themes to it.

Posted by kerri harrop | January 18, 2008 12:47 PM



Unless they waive admission and call it "Free Animal Day."

Posted by NapoleonXIV | January 18, 2008 12:59 PM

Wow. We live in a world where people will readily admit in a public forum that they delight in the vicious death of stupid asshole teenagers for acting like, well, stupid asshole teenagers.

Of course, all of these people were perfectly rational, logical, sane and safe teenagers, who never drove drunk, or had unprotected sex with a stranger, or drank so much they risked poisoning, or drove recklessly because it seemed fun or cool at the time, or...I won't list all the stupid shit most teenagers do.

I am PRETTY sure if I came here and suggested that teens who have unprotected sex deserve the AIDS they get, and delighted in their suffering, I'd be torn apart (as if by a Siberian Tiger).

I would imagine that, all told, unsafe sex is riskier than poking fun at caged animals...after all they ARE in most zoos they're pretty good at keeping the animals in.

Just because the behavior was assholery and douchebaggery, doesn't mean they deserve death. And my heart aches for those who are so fucking cold inside that they believe it does. No pity for the families? Dude, I always feel bad for a parent who loses their child. Not to is just to be as big a douche as the tiger-taunters

And mj@37, as a liberal myself who is tired of right-wing christian judgmentalism, your last paragraph was 100% spot on.

Posted by Carl Winslow | January 18, 2008 1:00 PM

I for one, am against unsafe sex with caged animals.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | January 18, 2008 1:05 PM

@37 & @51

Me, I'm getting tired of expressions of shock that there are some commenters on the Slog who are judgmental, or illiberal, or what-the-fuck-ever. Not everybody who posts here thinks the same. Get over it.

Please email your complaints to whomever it was that promised you that the Slog would only contain certain points of view and not others. I don't know who told you that, but take it up with them. I'm sick of hearing it.

Posted by elenchos | January 18, 2008 1:06 PM

Thank you Elenchos for your caring advice. It is much appreciated. I will take that up with all the people that promised me slog would always have a certain slant.

My email was sent to Dan and Fnarf as soon as I finished reading your post,

You're a doll.... xoxox with tongue and all.

Posted by mj | January 18, 2008 1:18 PM

@51: Dude, the glare from your halo is blinding me.

Posted by J.R. | January 18, 2008 1:23 PM

Yep, I'm with @47 and everyone he cited.

The tigers had been kept safely for decades. Then these young men come along and deliberately put themselves at risk for a thrill. They are 100% responsible for what happened.

The world does not owe you safety in every corner. If they'd been driving drunk, would it be the brew master's fault? If they'd spilled a hot coffee on themselves, is it the cafe's fault? We do not live in a virtual world, not yet, anyway. And would you really want to live in Disneyland?

So I'm disturbed that so many Americans (and, increasingly, Canadians) immediately think 'lawsuit!' We should be teaching the next generation how to take personal responsibility for themselves, not to expect to be treated like toddlers. A country that anticipates such ignorance and naivete in all its citizens will get the ignorant and ineffectual citizenry it deserves.

Posted by Irena | January 18, 2008 1:29 PM

@51. Certain behaviors carry risks for those engaging in them. Those who have been informed of these risks and still take part in the behavior are responsible for the results. I would argue that a teenager is old enough to understand that angry predators kill things.

People make choices. Choices have consequences.

However, I don't think sexually active teens getting sick is an appropriate parallel. Sex is an important and productive activity that people can/should engage in and should do so safely. Taunting a tiger, caged or not, is never important/productive. No good can come of it.

The disconnect occurs when kids denied medically sound sex ed. If you don't understand the functions and risks, especially when they are actively withheld from you by adults, you're responsibility is less.

Posted by PA Native | January 18, 2008 1:30 PM

And @51, I don't think anyone here seriously delights in the death of this boy. The issue here is not, did he deserve it? The issue is, can we accept the consequences of our actions?

Posted by Irena | January 18, 2008 1:37 PM

@51, have you ever heard of hyberbole? As in, Carl Winslow's so stupid I wish he would get eaten by a tiger?

Posted by Julie | January 18, 2008 1:40 PM

Stupid typo messing up my insult. Hyperbole. Obviously.

Posted by Julie | January 18, 2008 1:50 PM

@48 - Yes, the fact that a tiger got out proves that the enclosure is not entirely safe - but they couldn't have known that BEFORE the tiger got out, could they? This was the first time it happened, EVER, from that enclosure.

The very essence of negligence is that any reasonable person would see the danger of a given situation and act in advance to safeguard against it. Or, that the danger of a situation had been demonstrated by prior events that were dismissed.

None of that happened here. The zoo built their enclosure, and after 5 decades and thousands of stupid drunk teenagers, there hadn't been a single adverse event. What, should they be sued because they didn't have a crystal ball? If they keep the same enclosure, don't make changes, and it happens AGAIN...well, that's negligence.

And now we have asshole teenagers getting a pass for harassing an animal, standing on top of a fence clearly meant to be a barrier to the public. Nice kids who get stoned, drive, and torment animals, and then make crude remarks to the paramedics trying to help them.

I find it hard to have a lot of sympathy for them. These were dishonorable kids doing something stupid, and they got fucked up by it. I feel about the same as I do for a kid who gets drunk and drives and ends up losing a leg. It's a sad story, but there really isn't anyone who should be punished.

Posted by Yeek | January 18, 2008 2:08 PM

I don't have an opinion on the lawsuit. America is lawsuit crazy and I think it has created a mass amount of problems and crazy insurance rates.
Where I live lawsuits hardly even exist and you live with the consequences of your actions. That is reality.

The problem I have is that somebody died and was a victim because of another persons actions and the simple fact that the wall was too low.
I may just be simple minded but the tiger got out and it should not have been able too. The zoo may have been unaware that they had a problem but they did.
It certainly is not a big enough issue for me to go on about though.

I don't even like Zoos or Circuses or most things that put non domestic animals in unnatural places.

nuf said!

Posted by mj | January 18, 2008 2:13 PM

Hey Dan, alot of comments for you already, so this one isn't likely to be acknowledged, but here goes.

So, if the teens were 'just being teenagers', then why didn't this happen say, 49 years ago? Or even 10 years ago? Wouldn't you expect teenagers to be, ya know, teenagers (assholes).

Or wait, could it possibly be that they did something no one else has done? Could it be that they put themselves at more risk then ever before?

I've heard of some pretty ridiculous baby-proofing measures for the world, but now you want to asshole-proof the world? Good luck with that. They did get exactly what they deserved. They weren't just being normal "teenagers" (nice to give all teens a free pass. I mean, if you don't expect shit from them, won't be disappointed will you.), they weren't just being stupid.

For anyone who thinks we're mean spirited for thinking this, fine. But how many tears have you shed for people dying around the world? How about for people in Iraq? Africa? Everywhere? Fucking self righteous pricks. There are far worse tragedy's going on than this.

You feel bad for the parents? The parents who could have taught their kids not to be assholes? Or for the kids, who could have chosen not be assholes, like so many before them? I feel bad for a creature with no rights forced to live in a tiny fucking enclosure and then being shot to death for its natural actions.

Posted by Just Some Guy | January 18, 2008 2:20 PM

@61 You make a good point, the best I have read so far. I still have a problem with the fact that a kid died and I don't like hearing people say they deserved it.

I always think of all the stupid things I did or my kids could do and wonder if I would say they deserved it.

There is a tendency for people to believe that a Zoo or even a national park is a Disneyland and no harm can come to them. I worked in Yosemite National Park and somebody asked me once what time they turned the water falls off!

You do make a good argument though.

Posted by mj | January 18, 2008 2:21 PM


Certain behaviors carry risks for those engaging in them. Those who have been informed of these risks and still take part in the behavior are responsible for the results.

They did not jump in with the tiger. They were OUTSIDE the cage. If you have a wild animal on display, you better design a cage that would hold the animal no matter how much taunting took place.

I would be in total agreement with you if they men had climbed IN the tiger display. They did not. The tiger jumped OUT. If the tiger had decided that an eight-year-old was taunting it, the zoo would likely be closed forever.

Posted by Will | January 18, 2008 2:21 PM

I don't even believe in putting domesticated animals in unnatural places.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | January 18, 2008 2:21 PM

No, Will, you're wrong. They climbed on top of the fence meant to serve as a barrier. It's not exactly "in" but it's not really "out" either. The tiger was supposedly directly below them, so if they'd been BEHIND the fence she wouldn't have had a direct line of sight to them.

Apparently the tiger saw them that much closer than other guests had ever gotten, and being thus enticed (as well as pissed off), she went for it.

The article mentions that she broke open her claws on the concrete enclosure, so I don't think it was easy for her to get to them.

Posted by Yeek | January 18, 2008 2:38 PM

Will @65

Yeek @67 already wrote my response for me so I'll go with that. Thanks Yeek.

Posted by PA Native | January 18, 2008 3:17 PM

Is being an asshole a crime? No. Should the zoo have had a safer enclosure? Probably. But these guys were standing on the wall. They easily could have slipped and fell in.

Does standing on top of the rail and yelling at the tiger put you at risk for winning the Darwin Awards? Yes.

Tigers chase, maul and try to eat dumb, slow animals. Especially dumb, slow animals that tease them. It's what they do. I can see why the police might have needed to kill the tiger, but I think it's just as sad as the death of the teenager. But the humans were behaving in a way totally beyond their control. They could have chosen to not act like assholes. The tiger was just doing what tigers do, given the chance.

Posted by Jo | January 18, 2008 3:55 PM

Charles Darwin was not a eugenicist.

Posted by elenchos | January 18, 2008 4:03 PM

A61, Christ, very few people give a shit about the idiots eaten by a tiger. It is we can all agree one of those things that happen in the world.

What's bizarre is all of the assholes who are delighting in it & whose appreciation for animals is matched only by their hatred for human weakness. Ah yes a gorgeous tiger was killed that is a tragedy! The death of a teenager on the other hand, well, he was probably just going to live in the suburbs & eat junk food and destroy the earth, unlike folks pissing on the internet consuming 500W of santimony enhancing power. Nothing at all like us or the people we deign to care about.

The Darwin Awards, yeah, great. It's faces of death for internet hipsters.

Posted by daniel | January 18, 2008 5:06 PM

This might be photoshopped, but it gives a good sense of scale:

Posted by Natalie | January 18, 2008 5:50 PM

That idiot deserved every inch of his Darwin Award. Unfortunately, an endangered animal is dead now because of him.

P.S. tormenting animals is a little more than teenage "assholery."

Posted by Kit Kat | January 18, 2008 5:50 PM

The boy died yes. That is all that matters. I'm drinking a chilled glass of champagne to that. Mmmmm!

Posted by Mark in Hate State Colorado | January 18, 2008 7:03 PM

In what way were they "tormenting" the tiger?

Posted by nabridie | January 18, 2008 8:01 PM

I will freely admit that I sometimes prefer animals, which have consistent and largely sensible instincts, to those humans which have a penchant for needless cruelty toward the imprisoned and (usually) helpless.

Human life is not sacred merely because it is human.

Posted by Yeek | January 18, 2008 8:32 PM

@75: By yelling and screaming at a 300-pound tiger in a threatening way and taunting her while crossing into her territory (they climbed on the enclosure's railing and were dangling their legs over the edge). In a tiger's world, that's considered tormenting a fact that any MORON should know.

Not to mention, the brainiacs had been drinking prior to the event (the deceased's BAC was TWICE the legal limit for driving). Animals HATE drunk people. When animals sense abnormal behavior it makes them react irrationally and sometimes violently.

Sure, while it can be argued that the zoo should have kept the tiger in a "safer" enclosure, it doesn't change the fact that those fucking douche-bags had it coming in the worse way.

So, with that said, my only complaint about this tragedy is it's a shame the tiger didn't get the other two perps before the cops put her down.

Bottom line; DON'T FUCK WITH WILD ANIMALS...You'll deserve whatever you get if you do.

Posted by Kit Kat | January 18, 2008 8:54 PM

I think the evidence that the height was sufficient to hold tiger in for fifty years of asshole visitors showed that these young men did something truly provocative.

Posted by ant man bee | January 18, 2008 8:59 PM

@51: I cannot feel sorry for ANYONE that thinks it's ok to pester wild animals and not to expect consequences. The "assholery of teengers" is not a viable defense. If you do bad things, you should expect bad things done back to you. It's an universal law of nature.

Oh, and likening this incident to getting AIDS from unprotected sex not an entirely fair analogy. When two consenting people have sex, nobody is trying to annoy, pester, taunt, or in other words, do anything remotely dickish as what those scumbags did. Sure, it isn't a good idea to have unprotected sex, but it sure a shit isn't anti-social and abnormal behavior unlike taunting and provoking an angry, caged, wild animal.

In other words, it's all relative to motive and intent, not just idiocy. They intended to torment an animal they thought couldn't get them and they payed the price for it. Fuck 'em. Nice people don't behave in that fashion, and therefore, they get what they get...

Posted by Kit Kat | January 18, 2008 10:34 PM

After hearing the most recent update of this, not only do I have no sympathy for the kids involved, but I think the zoo should be suing them for causing the tiger to be killed. Whatever the tiger's replacement value plus some additional punitive damages. Fucking idiots.

Also, never, ever fuck with a Tatiana from Siberia. You will always lose.

Posted by gnossos | January 18, 2008 10:48 PM

80, unless you're a cop with a gun.

oh, and reality check @47, had it been prepared, the zoo could have responded immediately, instead of calling police who took upwards of 1/2 hr. to get there. so, the zoo SHOULDN'T bother to have an emergency plan, is that what is so moronic about my comment? bite me.

Posted by ellarosa | January 18, 2008 11:55 PM

@70: True. Very good. Darwin wasn't a eugenicist. What's your fucking point? The Darwin Award is given to those that don't observe their environment and react accordingly (i.e., the mentally and/or physically deficient). Evolution selects those that can adapt and learn from their environment and it quickly disposes of those that can't. The bias in who gets to live is purely objective, not subjective.

Posted by Chaz Darwin | January 19, 2008 1:37 AM

Darwin had this cousin, Francis Galton, who coined 'eugenics' and thought Darwin's ideas could be applied to improving what eugenicists like to call the quality of the "gene pool". Darwin rejected this because it was too simplistic.

Darwin would have taken offense to have his name associated with those who would judge an individual human fit or unfit based on the kind of gross criteria that can be applied to animals.

Later expansion of Darwinism in evolutionary biology bears this out. It could just as easily be argued that those who take such pleasure in handing out "Darwin Awards" are the ones who are unfit, due to their lack of altruism, weak sympathy and unwillingness to protect others from harm. There is much more evidence to show these are important adaptive traits than to say that one bad decision brands you as "unfit."

If you were really so much smarter than these people who get themselves killed, you'd know enough to call it a Galton Award.

Posted by elenchos | January 19, 2008 8:48 AM

Good one, elenchos. While I don't think there's much harm in joking about Darwin awards (it's just black humour), I appreciate your clarification on the name. You're right; I expect he would be appalled. Galton Awards it is!

Posted by Irena | January 19, 2008 9:21 AM

When I was 17 (in 2001), I knew better than to taunt a fucking tiger. It's a fucking TIGER, people. You don't taunt a TI-fucking-GER.

If those kids were idiotic and/or drunk enough to get a tiger so mad it jumped the walls to get at them... well, I have more sympathy for the cat.

I remember a quote I heard a while ago, from a lady who said if she were walking down the street and saw a hungry baby and a hungry kitten, she'd be more likely to feed the kitten first.

Posted by Ryan | January 21, 2008 9:07 AM

Comments Closed

In order to combat spam, we are no longer accepting comments on this post (or any post more than 14 days old).