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Firefighters help remove Tony, Siberian tiger, from San Francisco Zoo moat

April 1, 2010 | 12:46 pm

San Francisco Fire Department personnel and San Francisco Zoo staff members prepare to lift Tony, an 18-year-old Siberian tiger, from a moat after being shot with tranquilizers at the San Francisco Zoo.

SAN FRANCISCO — Tony the Siberian tiger is back on display at the San Francisco Zoo after being shot with tranquilizers and hauled out of a moat where he'd spent four nights.

Zoo officials say it's not clear why Tony stayed in the moat. He's in good health, although he's 18 and a recent medical evaluation showed signs of senility.

Zoo officials decided on Monday that Tony could no longer stay in the dry moat he climbed into Thursday. The excrement was piling up and officials worried about a potential health hazard.

So with the help of firefighters, they hit the 360-pound tiger with tranquilizer darts, strapped him to a board and hauled him out with a pulley.

Siberian tigers have a life expectancy of 10 to 15 years in the wild and 14 to 20 years in captivity.

-- Associated Press

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Photo: San Francisco Fire Department personnel and San Francisco Zoo staff members prepare to lift Tony from the moat after sedating him Monday. Credit: Associated Press

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