Memories of Tatiana the Siberian Tiger

Siberian Tiger

I was so excited the day I heard the San Francisco Zoo was getting a new Siberian Tiger to be a companion for Tony because he had been so sad for a long time after the death of his sister Emily in 2004. After Tatiana was out of her 30 day quarantine I was able to get a glimpse of her inside the Lion House. I remember she was a beautiful young Tiger and I could not wait until Tony and her finally got together. Tony would come in and out of the Lion House to check her out and they always took notice of each other. It would be several weeks before you actually got to see the two of them together. I was at the zoo the first day they tried to get Tatiana to come out of the Lion House into the outside exhibit. It was a cold rainy day so Tatiana was not willing to come out. She took one quick look outside the Lion House door and then went back in. I did not blame her for going back inside since it was cold and wet. The keepers waited outside the enclosure for about 30 minutes and decided to call it a day for Tatiana coming out that day and said they would try to let her come out again another day when she was ready.

Siberian Tiger

In February 2006 they hosted Tony's birthday for Zoo Member's Morning which they would be also featuring Tatiana since she was the newest resident to the Lion House. Tatiana was constantly taking Tony's birthday gifts that he would be wanting to play with but she was pretty quick and would run off with them. She loved to jump and run around that day with rope toys and pumpkins. It actually seemed like Tony did not mind Tatiana taking his gifts. Tony was really sweet on her from the start and she seemed to make a magical transformation for him. He was no longer lonely and seemed to be brought to life when ever she was around.

Siberian Tiger

I got to know Tatiana on a weekly basis of visiting her and the other big cats since the Tigers and Lions have always been my favorite while visiting the zoo. I can call out to any of the big cats and they would take notice of me and to the point they always looked excited to see me. Tatiana in particular would always get excited when I would come up to her enclosure by running up to the front of the moat to great me and then she would run off and play. She was a very friendly Tiger that loved to watch the guest as they went by.

Siberian Tiger

It was a sad day when Tatiana was killed and I knew things would never be the same when I would go back to the zoo the next time. As I go to the zoo I still feel like I am going to wake up from a bad dream and Tatiana will be in her enclosure and nothing happened. I miss her greeting me when I walk up the enclosure and I miss seeing her playing with her toys cause she was so filled with life. I keep Tatiana close to my heart all the time. Those memories will never fade cause Tatiana and I had a bond that went beyond most guest that visited the zoo.

It has been six months since her death and it is still hard to believe she is no longer at the zoo and yesterday would of marked her 5th Birthday.

R.I.P. Tatiana

Photo credits: , Susan Pettitt.
Susan Pettitt
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Update November 17, 2010:

Earlier this year I made a decision that I would not be selling my photos any more but would start removing my photos in November. I would like to thank everyone that has given me wonderful comments on my photos the past several years and to the the buyers that have bought my photos. I now will only be displaying my photos for show in a photography journal that I have created which you can find the link listed under my website.

I've recently started going back to school for a degree in Zoology and trying to keep up with my stock photography and schooling at the same time was not working out for me. My schooling comes first and then photography has and always be just for fun.

Thanks again everyone cause I really have enjoyed the past several years at Dreamstime.

-Susan L. Pettitt

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August 15, 2008

huh... what a sad story... so sorry to hear... really sad. What makes us different from animals is the way we are thinking, we should use that ability... sad, when some don't. I guess we never know what really happened back then. So sorry about the boy too. What a tragedy.


August 15, 2008

Tatiana escaped from her enclosure by climbing the wall and attacked a 17 year old boy and killed him and then went after his two friends and then attacked them on Christmas Day. I do not normally talk about what happened because it is all speculation but most likely what happened was that the 3 guys did some thing to upset Tatiana and then she went after them. They did tell the father of the dead boy that they had been standing on the railing of the enclosure which I know that could of set her off cause technically they stepped into her boundary plus I do not believe that story that they told the father cause the top of the railing was not think enough for a grown man to balance on let alone 3 grown men. A lot of people ask why could they have not used a tranquilizer gun but in an event of what happened it could of just made her a lot more angry plus it can take too long for the tranquilizer to take in affect. It has come out that the 2 surviving guys do not have a good police record before the tiger attack and also after the tiger attack which makes me believe they did more then they are saying. It was a sad day to hear that one of the animals you love so much was shot and killed especially on Christmas day but I also think it was sad for the family to loose there son even if he was causing trouble for Tatiana.


August 15, 2008

Why she was killed?
Sorry if you said it already, and I missed that part in your story. I read it couple of times, but my English is not so good today... What happened to her?


August 11, 2008

Thanks for giving tribute to such a beautiful creature named Tatiana. Most everything suffers in our hands. We have learned much and have such a long way to go.. if we don't destroy our planet first.