Woman jumps into tiger exhibit to retrieve lost hat

TORONTO -- A woman jumped into a tiger exhibit at the Toronto Zoo to retrieve a hat that had fallen into the restricted space.

The woman scaled the first to two fences separating the Sumatran Tiger from the public and hopped down into the space between the wires. As she ran to pick up the hat, a seven-year-old tiger lunged at her and paced back and forth along the fence line.

Luckily, the woman made it back to the viewing area without getting hurt. But she received a tongue-lashing from some parents, who said she set a bad example for the children nearby.

One man called the woman a "moron" for jumping into the tiger's yard. The woman also had at least one child with her.

"It's a very bad idea. It's very irresponsible. It's irresponsible on any given day, but especially on a very busy day, when there's lots of families around with young children to watch that," a zoo employee said.

Zoo officials said although the woman was protected by the second fence, both barriers are in place to keep some distance between guests and the tigers. The zoo doesn't want people to be able to agitate the animals easily. Tigers are still very dangerous, even if they are in captivity.

Officials remind guests that if they lose an item, they should always ask a zoo employee for help.
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