Releasing Captive Tigers

Releasing Tigers - Page 1: Releasing Captive-Bred Species | 2 & 3: Issues Specific To The Tiger |
4 to 9: Xiongsheng Bear & Tiger Entertainment City | 10&11: Tiger Moon Sanctuary

There have been various attempts at overcoming the problems of releasing tigers back into the wild. Unfortunately some places have found this a good opportunity to abuse this endangered species and even sell tiger parts for a profit. Xiongsheng Bear & Tiger Entertainment City in China was/is just one of these places (it is unknown whether or not the practice continues here, though it definitely occurs at other facilities).

In India the baiting of wild tigers is now illegal. You cannot stake out a live animals or dead carcasses to feed or attract a tiger. This used to be very common practice, but is now considered the height of cruelty. The following ideas are not dissimilar to baiting, the difference being that these Asian facilities carry out the practice in captivity under the completely unproven premise of "training tigers to be released back into the wild". Note that no releases, or attempted releases, have ever occurred.

The reading of this article may disturb some people.

Xiongsheng Park, Guilin, China.

Report courtesy of the Animals Asia Foundation.

On Friday 15th October 1999, during an investigation of the Xiongsheng Bear and Tiger Entertainment City in Guilin, China, the Animals Asia Foundation was shocked to see pictures of our own Directors used in the advertising and promotion of the facility.  We had originally visited the park in 1998, together with the International Fund for Animal Welfare, prior to its official opening, in order to gain a greater understanding of the park's working practices and future objectives.  Our impression of the park at that time was poor and although we refused a subsequent invitation to attend the opening ceremony, we supplied animal enrichment programmes and later met the Director in Hong Kong in an attempt to persuade him to convert the facility into a rescue and education centre.

Upon our return, in October 1999, we observed captive-bred tigers attempting to kill domestic species in a concrete arena, for the entertainment of the general public. The tigers had no understanding of how to kill their prey, and caused considerable stress, pain and suffering to the animals they attacked. 

The training was conducted "in preparation for their return to the wild", but the methods employed carried no scientific basis.  It is crucial to ensure that the animals are not so comfortable in the presence of humans that they might be a danger to the local community upon release. These tigers displayed no fear of their trainers who, in turn, encouraged their aggressive behaviour towards domestic species.  This is a dangerous combination and, upon release into the wild, would undoubtedly lead to the tigers further extinction, from farmers protecting their livestock and their livelihood.

In addition, we were witness to the illegal possession, promotion and sale of tiger bone wine and filmed the entire transaction, showing documented evidence of illegal purchase.

The owner of this illegal and abusive facility has been flouting international legislation regarding the illegal trade in tiger bone and has deceived the Chinese government by defying it's own national regulations.

Although it is too late for those animals who have suffered and died in the name of entertainment, we can at least now help those that are currently being exploited and applaud the government's decision to ban wild animal feeding forthwith.

The Animals Asia Foundation commends the Chinese Government for their statements against animal cruelty and now appeals for the introduction of solid animal welfare legislation to protect all wild, domesticated and endangered species. 

(Continued Page 5)

Releasing Tigers - Page 1: Releasing Captive-Bred Species | 2 & 3: Issues Specific To The Tiger |
4 to 9: Xiongsheng Bear & Tiger Entertainment City | 10&11: Tiger Moon Sanctuary

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Photography With Thanks To The Animals Asia Foundation
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