Saturday, December 29, 2007

Close Down The San Francisco Zoo

(Photo: Matt Knoth) Tatiana - Victim Of San Francisco Zoo

I can not understand how anyone who even has a cat could not be flabbergasted at the pure negligence of those in charge of the San Francisco Zoo.

I was particularly amazed at the statements made to the press by the Director of the San Francisco Zoo which was the Zoo involved in the horrible mauling of two young men, and the death of a third on Christmas day (2007).

Here's a quote portion of a CNN article:

San Francisco Zoo Director Manuel A. Mollinedo acknowledged that the wall around the animal's pen was just 12 1/2 feet high, after previously saying it was 18 feet. According to the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, the walls around a tiger exhibit should be at least 16.4 feet high.

Mollinedo said it was becoming increasingly clear the tiger leaped or climbed out, perhaps by grabbing onto a ledge. Investigators have ruled out the theory the tiger escaped through a door behind the exhibit at the zoo, which remained closed Friday "She had to have jumped," he said. "How she was able to jump that high is amazing to me."

Amazing yes, but not to have been anticipated - no!

Our cats have no trouble at all making incredible leaps from a sitting position. For example they regularly jump from a sitting position on the floor to the top of the CRT computer monitor which is sitting upon the computer desk I am using right now. They look up, appear to be making some kind of calculation, position themselves again, reevaluate, and then leap. In less than a second they are up on top of the monitor several times their height. This is normal cat behavior, and ability.

When motivated, that is chasing after a rapidly moving light reflection emitted from a laser pointer, I've seen our cats nearly reach the ceiling - that's right - nearly climb a straight horizontal wall coming within inches of the ceiling - twelve feet high! They do this on a mad dash after a rapidly moving laser reflection. They do it without even thinking - no thoughts, or inhibitions - and perhaps that's why they are able to do it at all, as cats are usually rather cautious creatures, until they are playing at hunting, or actually hunting. Then things change.

I've had the freaky and scary experience of being in a small closet with a frightened cat which was bouncing - that's right, not jumping, but bouncing off her feet to the height of my face at least five feet high.

I've seen one of our cats jump right out of my arms clear off of a porch, and land at least twelve feet away in a dead run towards a rabbit.

And I've seen one of our cats make an incredible dash up a tree while being chased by a dog covering twelve feet vertical in less than time than the blink of an eye.

Cats possess abilities that far surpass humans in the ability to jump, and dash at prey, or away from predators. Some people believe that cats are wimps because they are very cautious and shy by nature, but that is in their programming, and has kept them out of trouble for a very long time. It would be a very frightening world indeed to wake up to a world in which cats were not cautious and shy. Imagine living with an aggressive feral cat - quite scary indeed.

We may live with the smaller cats, but they haven 't lost their abilities, and we may cage up the larger cats and foolishly put them on display, but they're still the remarkable creatures they are in the wild.

Even with a twenty feet wide moat, which the San Francisco Zoo has in place around the fence separating it's tigers from visitors, it is quite obvious that a twelve and a half feet high wall was no match for a Siberian Tiger. I'm guessing that the teenage boys, which were victims of the mauling, taunted the tigers, and finally the dominant tiger decided to put an end to the abuse.

Putting any creature on display for hundreds, even thousands of gawkers each day must be quite stressful on those held in captivity, and I know that cats tire quickly, and need fourteen hours of sleep each day to stay in a positive mood.

I find it hard to fathom how those in charge of the San Francisco Zoo could have been so unprofessional as to have allowed such a dangerous set of circumstances to have taken place. It seems as if they neither understand the ability or psychology of their captives, or those who come to gawk - and sometimes abuse.

The San Francisco Zoo must be a very poorly managed institution to have ignored such a safety oversight. One expects more from a civic institution staffed by well paid "professionals". The San Francisco Zoo should be closed down until it can prove that the animals held captive there are not being abused, and neglected, and should not reopen until it is safe for humans to gawk at the captive animals again.


EJ said...

I've have a pair of cats myself and am also amazed at the apparent ignorance the zoo managers are showing in regards to the cats' abilities. I too have seen my cat nearly touch the ceiling; he would do it when we played a game where I bounced a ball up into a corner when he was a kitten.

I also hate hearing the argument about whether or not the cat was being taunted. Just assume it was being taunted and move on! Sure those that were picking on it (if they did) were stupid; it should have had no way of making it out of that pen.

If they don't shut it down for a short while, it should be boycotted until they have proven it's safe both for the people and animals.

Dave said...

Hey JP,

Give me a call ASAP this (Saturday) afternoon. Your cell phone if off.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I don't doubt your cats can do all those things...when presented with the right stimulation. Give the investigation time and I believe you'll find Tatiana had the perfect motivation - three testosterone fueled young men with nothing better to do than test their fate against a 300 pounds of tiger.

Anonymous said...

Was your house cat "taunted" by the rabbit moving across your lawn? Of did the rabbit's natural movements provoke your cat's natural response? I think it's very presumptious to assert the teenagers' culpability without more evidence.

JeromeProphet said...

O.K. It was totally random. Just two innocent teenage boys, and an early twenty-something man.

Out to celebrate Christmas at the local zoo because of their love of penguins.

I wonder why the cat didn't choose let's say easier prey like a mother and her two little preteen girls.

It certainly had plenty of opportunity to pick and choose when to attack zoo goers.

Anonymous said...

That's some pretty audacious mauling profiling there!
Late teens...?
Early twenties...?

Why did they even let these people in the zoo?

JeromeProphet said...

Lots of testosterone, and not so bright. I remember those years quite well. Lots of dumb ass friends who loved to tear up stuff, blow up stuff - all for what - to kill time, and because it was fun. Of course kids today are different - they want to act like monkeys and chimp around in front of the tigers. Like I said - not so bright.

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