Zoo Opens with Closed Enclosures

Lions and tigers are staying hidden from view as the San Francisco Zoo opens its doors Thursday.

The zoo is welcoming visitors for the first time since a Christmas Day tiger rampage left one dead and two wounded. Many of those who entered the gates said they were showing their support for the zoo.

At a bronze tiger sculpture near the zoo's entrance, some laid flowers, cards and photographs of the escaped tiger, who was killed by officers.

Zoo officials have stepped up security following the maulings. They have a new public alert system in place and extra signs warning people not to tease the animals. The big cat enclosure will remain closed indefinitely.

Police are investigating whether the victims had taunted the tiger before it climbed or leaped out of its outdoor pen. The attorney for the surviving victims says the idea that the men provoked the attack is "nonsense."

A woman tells the San Francisco Chronicle she was at the zoo with her husband and children and watched the young men roaring at the lions shortly before the tiger attack.

Jennifer Miller says her kids were upset by the behavior, so the family walked away. But, she says the teen who was killed by the tiger wasn't taking part in the teasing.

Police say they haven't been able to corroborate reports of taunting. They're investigating whether alcohol played a role in the Christmas Day attack, which left the one teen dead and his two friends seriously injured. They say they found an empty vodka bottle in the men's car.

The tiger enclosure will remain closed indefinitely.


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