Witness: Tiger devoured SF Zoo keeper’s arm

Jan 1, 2007 12:21 pm US/Central

(AP) SAN FRANCISCO A man who saw a tiger attack a zookeeper at the San Francisco Zoo says the 350-pound cat devoured most of the woman’s right arm.

The zoo has not released the keeper’s name or the extent of her injuries at her family’s request.

But San Francisco business owner Vikram Chari told the San Francisco Chronicle he and his 6-year-old son witnessed the Dec. 22 attack from a few feet away.

He says three men tried to yank the keeper from the 3-year-old female Siberian tiger’s grip. But the tiger did not let go until a zoo employee jabbed her in the head with a long pole.

Chari says by then most of the woman’s arm was gone. The victim remains in San Francisco General Hospital.

At least 50 visitors were at the zoo’s big cat exhibit, called the Lion House, said Robert Jenkins, director of animal care and conservation at the zoo. They were quickly evacuated.

The trainer has been an animal keeper at the zoo since 1997. Her main job is taking care of the zoo’s four lions and three tigers, Jenkins said.

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