SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – More than three years after the tiger attack that killed a teenage zoo visitor on Christmas Day, the San Francisco Zoo is getting a new Siberian tiger.

The 10-year-old female is coming from Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Neb., where she is called “Shasta.”

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KCBS’ Holly Quan Reports:

“This particular cat is not one that we’ve recognized any kind of jumping behaviors ever, that kind of thing that would suggest that she would ever make an attempt to escape,” stressed Henry Doorly Zoo curator Dan Houser. “If she were to, the changes from everything I’ve been told in how the (San Francisco) exhibit has been altered would certainly ensure that people were safe.”

This will be the first tiger arrival at the San Francisco Zoo since Tatiana escaped from her enclosure on December 25, 2007, fatally mauling Carlos Sousa Jr., 17, of San Jose shortly before closing time. Two of Sousa’s friends were also injured in the violent encounter. Police ultimately shot Tatiana dead on the zoo grounds.

The San Francisco facility subsequently came under scrutiny for inadequate safety standards and construction. Since then, the zoo has improved its tiger enclosure and worked to rehabilitate its image.

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San Francisco supervisor Sean Elsbernd, whose district includes the zoo, tips his hat to Tanya Peterson, who took over as director of the zoo in the wake of the horrific incident.

“And Tanya herself has stepped in and just done a fantastic job with the morale within the zoo, really turned around some of the public perception and I absolutely think the zoo is ready,” he declared of next month’s arrival of the new big cat.

Published reports suggest the 295 lb. cat will be known as “Martha” when she arrives, by truck, in San Francisco. She will most likely be quarantined for a period, as well as undergo observation, before being integrated into an exhibit open to the public.

Henry Doorly Zoo is considered a leader in tiger breeding, and keeps anywhere from 40 to 60 big cats in its breeding program at any given time.

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