In keeping with that old expression about letting the cat out of the bag, Wenzhou Zoo, Zhejiang province has done just that literally, and has received much criticism for its actions.
Visitors to the zoo are not only allowed to pet a tiger, they can also pose for pictures as they pretend to ride it!
An animal troupe puts on big cat shows every day at the zoo. They are not part of the operating zoo but rather rent space. After the 20-minute performance, visitors are invited to come up close, touch the tiger and pose for pictures as they pretend to ride the animal.
Three men supposedly “keep an eye on” the tiger, while a female photographer charges 30 yuan (about 6 US dollars) for taking pictures. Here’s where things get a little fuzzy and safety boundaries break down significantly. Keeping an eye on and restraining are two completely different things. How fast could these men intervene if the tiger is having a “bad hair moment” or something of that ilk?
The photographer claims that the tiger is tame and its teeth and claws have been filed down, but many have noted that she stands a considerable distance away while taking pictures.
“The zoo shouldn’t allow a tiger to pose for pictures with people, for both safety reasons and for animal rights…It is incredibly dangerous and animal abuse,” says tourist, Lao Shibo.
This story really seems to explode beyond the barriers of plain common sense. Even if the tiger’s claws are clipped and the teeth are filed down, any passerby can still be the big cat’s dinner with just the flip of a paw.
Wild beasts deserve their privacy and humans should keep their distance. Even experts risk their lives in their interactions with wild cats.
Consider these two words:
Siegfried and Roy.
Need I say more?
What do YOU think about this?