Amidst a sold-out fundraiser crowd at San Francisco Zoological Society‘s ZooFest, Zoo Director Tanya Peterson announced that the Zoo would be receiving a new Siberian tiger this summer.
As Catherine Bigelow reports, Peterson told the crowd that “In no means, do we forget our past,” referring to the 2007 incident in which Tatiana, a 350 lb tiger, escaped her enclosure to attack three patrons, killing one before being killed by SFPD.
After the passing of Tony, Tatiana’s longtime Siberian tiger companion last year, Zoo officials said they had no plans to replace either of the cats. “But with only 500 Siberian Tigers left in the world, it’s important we look to our future” Peterson said Saturday.
The 10-year-old, 295 lb white Siberian tiger, currently named “Shasta,” has been renamed Martha, after SFZS Board member Barnaby Conrad III successfully bid $20K to name her in honor of his wife, Martha Sutherland.
She comes to us from the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Nebraska. Due to lack of funds, the Omaha zoo has been paring down their collection of exotic animals, reports Matier and Ross.
“This particular cat is not one that we’ve recognized any kind of jumping behaviors ever, that kind of thing that would suggest that she would ever make an attempt to escape,” Henry Doorly Zoo curator Dan Houser told CBS5. “If she were to, the changes from everything I’ve been told in how the (San Francisco) exhibit has been altered would certainly ensure that people were safe.”
Houser’s referring to safety measures including raising the wall of the tiger exhibit to 22 feet.
Martha will arrive in June, undergo a health screening and temporary quarantine, then be ready to make her debut.
Photo of Tatiana: SF Zoo