January 1, 2008

Was Tatiana the tiger attacked with slingshots?

A news report today adds further support for the theory that the San Francisco Zoo tiger who attacked three men on Christmas Day was responding to extreme provocation.

Citing an unnamed source, today's New York Post reports that the injured men were armed with slingshots and had an empty vodka bottle in their car. This would support the theory that the men were engaging in a drunken display of masculine bravado when the 350-pound Siberian tiger went into hyperdrive, leaping across a moat to attack them. (See my post of Dec. 29.)

NOTE: On Jan. 2, the day after I posted this, ABC News quoted police as flatly denying that the men were carrying slingshots. The Dhaliwal brothers' high-profile attorney, Mark Geragos (of Michael Jackson and Scott Peterson fame), called the slingshot story an urban legend.

Speculation is rife about the circumstances of the mauling that left a 17-year-old boy dead. Neither police nor the surviving brothers, Kulbir and Amritpal Dhaliwal, are talking, and no other witnesses have come forward.

My original post of Dec. 29 is here. I also recommend an interesting commentary by professor of medicine Marc Siegel on the fight-or-flight instinct as it pertains to Tatiana: "The Emotions of Attack."