Police shot and killed a Tiger at the SF Zoo in the heart of San Francisco on Wednesday, saying it posed an imminent threat to hundreds of people. It killed one and injured two people.
The female cat sparked alarm after it was first reported by Zoo officials she had left her cage.
Given the highly populated setting, police and wildlife officials said, a police officer was given the OK to shoot the cat. Authorities stressed that attempting to subdue it with a tranquilizer dart would have been too risky because it can take half an hour for the drugs to take affect.
“You’re just putting more people at risk if you tranquilize a Tiger and it takes off,” said state Department of Fish and Game spokesman, whose agency approved a permit to kill the Tiger as a public safety threat.
“It usually takes at least 20 or 30 minutes for the tranquilizing drugs to take effect. At that point, (the tiger) can be highly unpredictable,” police said. “That’s why we don’t as a policy tranquilize tigers to remove them.”
He added simply: “Tigers are very difficult to catch.”
The animal “was a huge threat to public safety,” and what would happen if a tranquilizer was used was just too unpredictable, said the SF Police Detective. “It was dinnertime for Tigers and people were around ”.