Stephen W. Oachs Photography

Updated December 28th, 2007: The latest discoveries in this case are leading me to believe that the 3 men attacked by a Siberian Tiger at the San Francisco Zoo likely did taunt poor Tatiana, aggravating her and giving her reason to escape and pursue them. The San Francisco Police have released more information stating the following facts:
  • The three men were at the zoo together
  • There were pine-cones and sticks in the moat, which could not have fallen there naturally
  • A footprint was found on the railing -- police are testing for a match to the three men
  • The two surviving men have criminal records, and during their past arrest attempted to flee from police
  • The two surviving men were uncooperative and belligerent, using profanity with ER staff when arriving at the hospital

It is also being said that the Grotto wall is only 12.5 feet deep, 4 feet shorter than national zoo standards -- yet, this specific grotto was built in 1940 and for the past 67 years has housed wild cats without any issue. I'm left to wonder if the only reason Tatiana is dead is because 3 people made the foolish mistake of taunting the cat, then entering her habitat thus being the primary cause for this attack.

I want to stress this is only my opinion from what I've learned from the media. I only hope the two surviving men stand up, as men, and tell the truth. If you'd like to share your thoughts or discuss this story, I'd like to hear from you:

(Click to enlarge)
Updated December 26th, 2007: The photo to the right of the tiger crouching, is Tatiana, the Siberian Tiger from the San Francisco Zoo that escaped her grotto enclosure, attacking three park guests...killing one.

I have stood at this very enclosure and photographed Tatiana many, many times -- often spending several hours waiting for just the right pose or behavior to photograph and never would I imagine these animals making such a leap out of a 20 foot moat. The full story has yet to unfold but I suspect Tatiana may have been taunted which lead to her aggravation and escape. In the many hours I've spent at the San Francisco Zoo, I have witnessed inappropriate behavior and lack of respect toward the animals by other park guests.

My sympathies to the family of the victim and my best wishes to the injured for a speedy recovery. Hopefully the two survivors will come forward and tell the true story of what happened so we can understand this tragedy.

If you'd like to share your thoughts or discuss this story, I'd like to hear from you:

I like the San Francisco Zoo. It's not the biggest or the best I've seen, but the animals are usually active and it's open and good for photography. Here are a few shots from a couple recent visits.

Popular Photography Magazine has selected my San Francisco Zoo photo "Powerful Primate" for the June 2007 issue of "Your Best Shot." (Photo below)

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