Zoo officials said a “moat” separating the habitat from the public viewing area that measured 33 feet across contained no water, and has never had any. They did not address whether that affected the tiger’s ability to get out.
Nowhere in the article does it mention that having the moat filled (at the point where the slope ends) with water wouldn't have helped much because of the fact that tigers LIKE BEING IN THE WATER. (disclaimer: also, I'm looking at this drawing, which isn't scaled, but I'm guessing that the little 'lip' on the sloped side is maybe only a foot tall)
Of course, it is very possible that if the moat had been partially filled (half way up the slope) with water that the tiger couldn't have gotten out. If only because it wouldn't have had a solid surface from which to leap.
Besides, it's quite possible the moat couldn't be filled with water because if the SFZ is anything like the Denver Zoo, there are doors at either end at the bottom of the moat.
I like that they draw a little line at 16.4'. It's like they don't think people will understand that 16 is bigger than 12. In which case I think they perhaps need to stop writing articles about things that have happened and start making their readership watch Sesame Street instead.