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Why Didn't Anybody Tell Me: Urban Jungle

Why Didn't Anybody Tell Me: Urban Jungle

As a mom, you roll with the punches — wipe up the milk that exploded from a sippy cup in the car and answer "Why?" questions when your kids hit the curious stage.

Having grown up in San Francisco, I discussed the issues of kidnapping, drug addiction, and homelessness with my daughter early on, but nothing prepared me for the recent conversations we've had about tigers.

She's been to the San Francisco Zoo dozens of times, enough to know that fluffy white bunnies are fed to the lions at feeding time while the room vibrates with their roars. And, that a zoo keeper's arm was mauled by Titiana, a Siberian tiger when her limb got too close.

But, the other night, my daughter had enough when I told her that she and her cousins couldn't go outside to play because we just got word that tigers may have escaped from the zoo. Since we were celebrating Christmas just blocks away at a hall in a tree lined thick on the lake, we had been warned to stay indoors while search helicopters hovered. To see what happened,

My daughter threw a tizzy, unable to grasp the fact that we weren't joking and to tell you the truth, it all seemed a bit surreal to me. As a parent, you imagine scenarios in your head and how you will protect your child, but you never picture being in the city and up against a tiger.

Sure, the family members gathered were about seventy strong, but with the slim doors and ample glass, I imagined our best bet would be to back up behind my one-year-old son and let him wail his primal scream. So it keeps our neighbors up at night, maybe it was meant to keep tigers at bay?

Needless to say, it was quite a scare. But beyond that, it taught my daughter that zoos aren't the best place for animals — they belong in the wild.

Join The Conversation
amber_castaldo amber_castaldo 9 years
How scary.
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
I complete agree with you mellie. Most people don't realize how much zoo's actually help animal preservation especially places like the San Diego Zoo and the Bronx zoo. I lived in San Francisco for many years and HATE their zoo. Their animals did not have enough room to run around and exert the energy they should. I have no idea what kind of preservation and education they do but I learned nothing there except that the zoo should be shut down. I even wrote a letter to the city about it. The tiger acted like a tiger. Those kids are to blame. They were old enough to know what they were doing was wrong. And wouldn't it be wonderful if the animals could stay in the wild where they belong. Unfortunately they will not survive without zoo's.
mellie_608 mellie_608 9 years
I think what happened is absolutely horrible and I've been following the story since I heard about it. One thing to remember is that most zoo's goals are preservation, rescue and education, not amusement. I know that many people go to the zoo because it's a fun and touristy thing to do, but zoo's are also there to educate us, show us the great animals that we have and find ways to keep them around for years and years to come. It's a great time to let your kids know the power that animals do hold up against man and understand that they can be unpredictible in the wild and in captivity. I don't think that this should stop us from going to zoos and learning about these great animals.
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 9 years
What's really sad about this story is that it's believed the kids were taunting the tiger. If a lesson is to be learned here, that would be the lesson. Kids should be taught to respect animals, not tease or taunt them.
macgirl macgirl 9 years
My son was really concerned about this story and we are no where near SF.
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
Awww poor little girl...that's so sad :(
kia kia 9 years
How sad. Besides thinking about animals in zoos vs. the wild I bet your daughter has some understanding of who Tatiana was. When I was little I knew the names of some of the larger animals at the L. A. and San Diego zoos. I thought of them as my "friends" to visit when I had a chance to go. Some were carnivores, some were circus rescues, some were bred in captivity. I still remember Chester, the black bear, passing away just before I turned nine from a disease he got most likely from humans throwing stuff for him to eat in his enclosure.
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