When a duck came to lunch with a tiger,
and found out that his favorite dish wasn’t fruit and fiber
By EMMA CLARK
PUBLISHED: 14:44 EST, 3 August 2012 | UPDATED: 15:30 EST, 3 August 2012
Patience isn’t something they teach at China’s Heilongjiang Siberian Tiger Park, where dozens of hungry eyes frantically watch visitors as dinner time approaches.
An incredible set of photos shows the critically endangered animals before and during their feast of live chickens, ducks and cows, who attempt in vain to escape the claws of their predators.
Visitors watch from the safety of a viewing platform as the small animals are fed to a group of the tigers visible from the park’s main office or during a safari ride around the park.
It is home to hundreds of Siberian Tigers, the largest of the cat species, which are encouraged to lead a wild lifestyle.
It also acts as the largest breeding centre for the cats in the world, opened after the animal was hunted close to extinction in the 1940s.
Only a few dozen remain in the wild in their native Russia, China and North Korea after they were tracked down for their body parts, used in traditional Chinese medicine.
However over the past 60 years, their numbers have increased to 500.
Visitors can buy chickens for the equivalent of about £10 or £160 for a cow.
The Lonely Planet guide warns: ‘If you don’t think you can handle the spectacle, of cheering locals as much as tigers mauling their prey, consider not taking the ride.’
But the popular attraction of having a photo with a tiger cub was banned the Chinese wildlife conservation and forestry department last month.
The step followed a complaint filed by a resident, surnamed Li who said that visitors to the park were allowed to take pictures with Siberian tiger cubs for 100 yuan, about $16, according to the Huffington Post.
‘The cubs cried miserably, and that’s so pitiful,’ said Li, adding that the cubs would hide behind the tree after being photographed. ‘Obviously, they aren’t willing to do this.’
Some wildlife enthusiasts, however, said the practice was understandable as many animal parks and zoos suffer from a lack of funding.