Zoos and animal parks are somewhat of a mixed bag for animal lovers. On the one hand, they offer the valuable opportunity to see all sorts of rare and exotic creatures that many of us would never get the chance to encounter otherwise. On the other, keeping these creatures captive can lead to all sorts of problems.
The debate over the ethics of confining wild animals continues to rage on, and questions of how to keep a creature healthy in such an unnatural environment may be more practical, but they are just as important to consider.
China’s Siberian Tiger Park is the perfect example of a facility that has come under fire for issues like these. The park allows visitors an up-close-and-personal experience with one of nature’s most fascinating and intimidating animals, but recent photos show that it’s created some very big problems for the jungle cats…
Recently, photos began to circulate online of extremely overweight tigers from China’s Siberian Tiger Park. While the photos have mostly been shared in a humorous way, animal experts warn that this is no laughing matter.
The cats have grown obese because the park allows live feeding; visitors are able to buy chickens (and sometimes larger animals like goats) and give them to the tigers to kill and eat for entertainment. Not only is this unethical, but it’s drastically impacting the felines’ health.
The big cats are kept in cramped quarters which presents a number of issues. For one, they can’t get an adequate amount of exercise in the small space, and for another, tigers are solitary animals and the proximity to so many other cats creates a high-stress environment.
While this is certainly a problem that needs to be addressed, animal experts warn that nobody should be pointing fingers solely at China. Zoos all around the world have similar issues, and there are plenty of big cats in confinement who face comparable health problems.
Experts hope that these pictures’ popularity can be used to draw attention to the tigers’ plight and force zookeepers to rethink the way they approach the captive animals’ nutrition and exercise. It may seem cute at first, but there’s nothing entertaining about a sick creature.
Those poor tigers deserve better! It’s really up to visitors at parks like this to let the management know they don’t approve of the cats’ inhumane and unhealthy treatment.