Attendance up at SF Zoo following attack

January 5, 2008 2:47:53 PM PST
Attendance was up at the San Francisco Zoo following a tiger attack that killed a young man on Christmas Day,

Twice as many visitors came to the zoo when the facility reopened Thursday as had visited the same day last year, spokesman Paul Garcia said.

Most of the 782 visitors arrived before heavy rains began falling over the city Thursday afternoon. Just under 400 visitors who came to the zoo the entire day on Jan. 3, 2007, Garcia said.

Severe storms over Northern California forced the zoo to close again Friday, as high wind brought down tree branches and knocked out power at the facility. No animals were hurt in the storm.

Despite the weather, work continued on a 3-foot fence being erected around the zoo's polar bear exhibit after zoo officials said they determined the existing barrier was too low.

The zoo was closed for eight days following the tiger attack, which left 17-year-old Carlos Sousa Jr. dead and two brothers injured. Police were investigating whether the tiger was taunted before attacking the three victims.

Other zoos that have endured mishaps have seen similar spikes in attendance, which zoo officials have attributed to the publicity and morbid curiosity.