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Feline Ballistics

Here’s a straightforward question in ballistics:

What velocity do you need to launch a 350 pound object over a 12.5 foot barrier that is 33 feet away?

The answer, thanks to Raza Syed, a physicist at Northeastern University in Boston, and a pal is: 26.7 miles per hour at an angle of about 55 degrees.

Now let’s make a few substitutions. Replace 350 pound object with a female Siberian Tiger called Tatiana. And for 12.5 foot barrier 33 feet away substitute the dimensions of the tiger enclosure at San Francisco zoo.

Is this kind of speed possible for a tiger? Apparently yes. Syed says tigers can reach speeds of 35 miles per hour with a run up of only a few feet so this enclosure was clearly no barrier to Tatiana.

After her leap for freedom, Tatiana killed 17-year old Carlos Souza and was shot dead after mauling two other victims.

Ref: arxiv.org/abs/0801.4407: Tiger Tales: A Critical Examination of the Tiger’s Enclosure at the San Francisco Zoo

From here. There are some good comments. My favorite is the first one:
By sir_flexalot on Feb 1, 2008
It wasn’t a leap for freedom, it was a leap for revenge.