Woman enters Toronto Zoo tiger enclosure to retrieve hat

Mon Apr 18, 2016 12:32pm EDT
 
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TORONTO (Reuters) - The Toronto Zoo said on Monday it is investigating a video that shows a woman climbing into part of its tiger enclosure to retrieve a hat.

The woman's actions caused the animal to lunge at her, but the seven-year-old Sumatran tiger remained behind a second fence and the woman climbed back out of the enclosure unharmed, according to the video, which was widely circulated on YouTube.

A spokeswoman for the zoo, a sprawling forested park that features thousands of animals, said the zoo was unaware of the incident until the video surfaced and is investigating.

"My understanding is it happened Saturday afternoon," said zoo spokeswoman Jennifer Tracey.

Tracey said it is not unusual for items to fall into animal enclosures, but she urged people to contact zoo staff because they have equipment to safely retrieve lost items.

"No need to go after them yourself. Follow the signs, there is a reason they are there," Tracey said.

She said the tiger, Hari, would not have been traumatized by the incident and was displaying "instinctive behavior" that does not concern the zoo, Canada's largest.

The video, shot by zoo patron Jared Sales, showed a man yelling at the woman and calling her a "moron" for jumping into the enclosure. She appeared to be with at least one child.

"At no point did anyone from security or the zoo come to investigate what was happening. I'm not sure they would have even known someone went into the enclosure if I had not posted this video," Sales said in a statement.

(Reporting by Andrea Hopkins, editing by G Crosse)