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.