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911 Audio Transcript of San Francisco Zoo Tiger Attack on Christmas Day

Wed January 16 2008 7:36 am
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911 call (audio) from outside a zoo cafe by either Paul or Kulbir Dhaliwal after a Siberian Tiger from the San Francisco Zoo had already killed their 17-year-old friend Carlos Sousa Jr.

Judging from the attack reports given by police, the older brother, Kulbir, who was the last of the three victims, is the likely caller. A tiger mauled three men, killing one of them, after it escaped December 25, 2007 from its open-air enclosure at the San Francisco Zoo.  The 350-pound tiger jumped or climbed over a 12-foot wall.

9-1-1 Operator: I’m just going to stay on the line until the paramedics are with you, alright?

Caller: Can you just check up on them? … to see where they are? [unintelligible]

9-1-1 Operator: They’re on scene right now, but they have to stage until they’re given permission to go inside.

Caller: [unintelligible] It’s a matter of life and death!

9-1-1 Operator: Ok … no. I understand that, but at the same time we have to make sure the paramedics don’t get chewed out. ‘Cause if the paramedics get hurt then nobody’s going to help you.

Caller: [deleted] Can you fly a helicopter out here? Because I don’t see a (expletive) ambulance.

9-1-1 Operator: OK … I un-der-stand that. Alright? I’m trying to …

Caller: There’s nothing I can do.

9-1-1 Operator: O.K. The ambulance is staging. I need you to understand that the ambulance people — paramedics — O.K. … Calm … down. Alright? I am going to stay on the line with you. If the paramedics get hurt, they cannot help your brother, so you need to calm down. You are going to be the best help for your brother right now.

Caller: Can you… What’s going on here?

9-1-1 Operator: O.K.

Caller: [untelligible] 10 minutes. I called 10 minutes before … it’s been 20 minutes.

9-1-1 Operator: O.K. I’m trying to explain to you that we have to make sure that we can get in side safely, alright?

Caller: How long does it take?

9-1-1 Operator: I do not know that because I’m not out there right now … so … we have specialists … we have 16 different police units plus about six different paramedics and fire department personnel out there trying to … we just have to make sure that the tiger doesn’t hurt any of the emergency units, otherwise there’s going to be nobody to help you, alright? So just stay calm; I’m going to stay on the phone with you.

Too low: 12.5 feet falls short of 16.4-foot recommendation.
Early assessment presumes that factors leading to the tragedy include that the tiger was agitated by taunting behavior of the victims and that a retaining wall between the tiger’s enclosure and the public area was 4 feet shorter than recommended.

Association of Zoos & Aquariums, which accredits the nation’s zoos, may even adjust its 16.4-foot (5-meter) wall-height recommendation after the tragedy in San Francisco is fully evaluated. Several major U.S. zoos meet or exceed this standard with electrified wires or extreme overhangs at the top of high walls.

More info …
Association of Zoos & Aquariums —

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