Thursday, December 27, 2007

Zoo Admits Wall Too Low

San Fran zoo has admitted the wall around the tiger pen is only 12 1/2 ft after days of differing reports from zoo officials. The Director has also admitted this evening that the recommended height for Big Cat enclosures is 16 ft while many zoos build walls of 20 ft.

According to an interview on local Fox TV at teatime, zoo Director, Manuel Mollinedo, said the wall was built in 1940. Inspectors last checked on the Lion House three years ago and no comment was made then about the height of the wall.

It is now looking more likely that the tiger jumped the wall by herself, given the height. Police are not commenting tonight on the theory that one of the boys had dangled his legs over the wall.

There are obvious questions to be asked: did inspectors from the American Zoological Association take the word of the zoo on the wall's height? What did the zoo tell the inspectors? Was it reasonable for inspectors to take the zoo's word rather than measure the wall themselves?

And how come no-one at a zoo described as the largest in Northern California noticed that the wall was too low?

The police investigation is continuing. As yet there is no forensic result on the footprint found on the railings.

Meanwhile the zoo have announced new security measures for all it's animals: new fencing, surveillance and electric wiring.

One of the more moving aspects of the press coverage has been the tributes paid to the 17-year-old victim, Carlos Sousa. He is said to have been interested in hip hop music with hopes of becoming a DJ.

For the latest report click on San Francisco Chronicle

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