Friday, 28 December 2007
The Tiger enclosure at the San Francisco Zoo in January 1959.
This has nothing to do with Kuranda but you might find it interesting regarding a current news item.
In 1959 I was 17 years old. The recently formed San Francisco Zoological Society contracted to do a television program on the “educational TV station” KQED Channel 9. I was a member of the Student Section of the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco and was selected to join the San Francisco Zoo Director, Carey Baldwin, to do the show. I acted as his student asking questions and helping with the livestock that was taken to the studio each week. The program lasted for two seasons. I lived only a few blocks from the zoo and Mr. Baldwin and I became very good friends. He was most entertaining and I could regale you with many stories. One immediately came to mind when I heard about the recent tiger incident at the San Francisco Zoo. One evening Mr. Baldwin invited me over to his house after dinner to see if "we had a problem with a tiger". I forget the tiger's name but Mr. Baldwin had been told by one of the zookeepers that the tiger might be able to escape by jumping across the moat and onto the flowerbed between the public guard rail and the moat. We got a large piece of meat and tied it to a long bamboo pole and approached the tiger enclosure. We were at the other end of the bamboo pole--about 15 ft away from the meat. Mr. Baldwin held the pole at the edge of our side of the moat. Once the tiger saw it, he literally flew across the moat from his position on the other side, grabbed the meat, and sprung back to the grotto all in one graceful movement. It happened so quickly that it was hard to believe what we had seen. Immediately we got into Mr. Baldwin's car, drove around to the other side of the enclosures, and entered the Lion House where we coaxed Mr. Tiger into its indoor holding cage. Then Mr. Baldwin closed the tiger's access to the outside--supposedly forever. Notes were left to the zookeepers to never let this tiger outside again.