February 22, 2008 in Nation/World

Nation in brief: Zoo reopens big cat exhibit

The Spokesman-Review

The big cat exhibit at the San Francisco Zoo reopened Thursday for the first time since a tiger escaped and fatally mauled a teen two months ago.

“They are such beautiful animals,” marveled zoo member Breanne King, who brought her two daughters to see the animals.

King said she’s made one other zoo visit since the Christmas Day attack and wanted to see the new safety measures made since then to prevent another animal escape.

“I wanted to check it out and see if it’s as safe as they said it was,” she said.

The open-air grotto for the big cats now has higher walls, glass barriers and electrified wires, and warning signs and surveillance cameras were added around the exhibit.

Ever since the 250-pound Siberian tiger escaped, her mate Tony, two lions and a Sumatran tiger have been kept indoors so the exhibit could be upgraded.

Before the improvements, the walls were about 4 feet lower than recommended. The grotto now has 19-foot barriers – about 3 feet higher than the Association of Zoos and Aquariums recommends.

Los Angeles

Ruling restrains animal activists

A judge issued a temporary restraining order Thursday against animal rights groups and activists accused of threatening UCLA employees and graduate students because they conduct research using animals.

The order by Superior Court Judge Gerald Rosenberg forbids the activists from engaging in acts of harassment and threats of violence, and requires that they stay away from anybody who is known to be a university employee involved in animal research.

It also ordered the activists and their groups to remove the researchers’ personal information from Web sites that name them as targets of their protest.

Three times since June 2006, Molotov cocktail-type devices have been left near the homes of faculty members who oversee or participate in research that involves animals, according to the university.

Researchers’ homes have been vandalized and they have received threatening phone calls and e-mails. On at least one occasion a faculty member received a package rigged with razor blades, UCLA said in a statement.

The judge scheduled a March 12 hearing to determine whether to grant UCLA the permanent injunction.

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