Animal Park Cleared in Tiger Killing

From Times Staff Writer

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Thursday cleared the San Diego Wild Animal Park of any wrongdoing in the fatal shooting last weekend of a rare Sumatran tiger that had escaped from its enclosure and threatened to leap the park's final fence.

The letter, which arrived a day after a USDA inspection, said the park just outside Escondido had "attempted to recapture the animal and resorted to shooting it only when it was determined that the continued freedom of the animal posed a possible threat to the public."

The 300-pound tiger escaped Saturday after storms washed away the earth beneath a chain-link fence surrounding its one-acre enclosure. Park officials said it was not possible to shoot the animal with a tranquilizer gun.

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