Did Nacho Breath Make Tatiana the Tiger a Man-Eater?

By Fred

Lawsuits in the December 2007 maulings are still pending, but one lawyer claims the late Tatiana became a ravenous killer because the San Francisco Zoo chronically underfed her.

The facts are pretty damning. When Tatiana arrived in SF in December 2005 from the Denver Zoo where she was raised from a cub, she’d been eating 42 pounds of meat 7 days a week and weighed 292 pounds.

When she was killed last December after attacking three teenage boys, she weighed only 242. Her diet in SF was only 32-36 pounds of meat 6 times a week. She’d dropped 20 pounds in the first month alone.

Written records and observers indicate that Tatiana was a notorious grabby-paws at mealtime. During a public feeding in December 2006, she clawed and gnawed zookeeper Lori Komijan’s arms through the cage bars. The very next day, the zoo increased her weekly meat ration to 38-42 pounds, but cut back again 5 weeks later.

Komijan’s civil lawsuit claiming zoo negligence goes to trial September 2.

Now the lawyer for the family of the late Carlos Sousa, Jr., says that smelling nachos on one of the Dhaliwal brothers could have made Tatiana mistake the boys for Tiger Chow.

However, Tatiana’s autopsy revealed she had a full stomach (which weakens the “nacho cravings” argument), was in excellent health, and showed no signs of malnourishment.

So if the boys’ lawsuits are filed as expected, their success will likely depend on jurers believing the zoo turned Tatiana into a starving predator who went nuts over nacho breath.

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5 Responses to Did Nacho Breath Make Tatiana the Tiger a Man-Eater?

  1. it doesnt surprise me at all. zoos are NOT ‘happy’ places. lets not forget that these for-profit organisations rely on exhibiting animals and their expense is essentially paying themselves. they are notorious for bleeding profits from animals. shameful. my entire day is ruined now(not blaming you, K) just yesterday, i heard about an indian journalist getting fired for writing an article on poaching at the corbett tiger reserve. the terrible things we do to animals…i find myself incapable of getting angry these days, i just want to sit down and bawl.

  2. catsworking says:

    Tatiana’s apparent hunger the whole time she was at the SF Zoo was well-documented and observed by many people. Now, that it made her go off on those kids seems to be a stretch, but I would buy the theory that she was irritable and had a short fuse when they started taunting her – IF SHE HADN’T JUST EATEN.

    Zoos aren’t our favorite places because we hate to see the animals put on display and not living natural lives. When an animal ends up like Tatiana, it makes you question the ethics of having zoos at all. But on the other hand, if the animals were all out in the wild, they might get hunted into extinction. It’s a real dilemma.

  3. they wont be hunted into extinction if there were strict *enforceable* laws against it.

  4. So the nacho breath thing is serious?

  5. catsworking says:

    Yes! If you click on the link in the post to the video of Carlos Sousa’s lawyer talking, I think that’s where I heard him say that one of the Dhaliwal brothers had been eating nachos and Tatiana must have smelled them.

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