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


April 1998:

The park began construction in February 1998. On the 10th April 1998, Jill Robinson, Boris Chiao, Dr. Gail Cochrane (now from Animals Asia Foundation) and Grace Ge Gabriel (International Fund for Animal Welfare), visited there and spoke with the owner, Mr. Zhou Wei Sen. At that time, Mr. Zhou claimed that he possessed 6 south China tigers (from 4 provincial zoos), 4 Bengal tigers, 60 Siberian tigers, 130 Asiatic black bears, 1 brown bear, 19 African lions, 1 clouded leopard, and 1 golden cat. Mr. Zhou advised that he had successfully bred 90 Asiatic black bear cubs and hoped to have bred 500 tigers by the year 2000 and 1,000 tigers by the year 2005. 

We were introduced to Mr. Guo, who advised that he was the top expert for breeding tigers in China and was training those captively born at the park to "have the wildness put back into them". This entailed guidance from human instructors, who led the young tigers by collar and lead into an arena where they were "trained" to attack livestock. Apparently, since the training began, the tigers are stronger, wilder, and have better fertility than before.

Mr. Zhou advised that his expenditure amounted to RMB100,000 per cat per year. The species are strictly separated and will eventually be put back into the wild; into a nature reserve. He was also intending to place the bears into wildlife reserves by 2005. None of Mr. Zhou's statements on releasing the animals to zoos and reserves were substantiated by any available study and neither was he aware of the local or international bear and tiger experts we suggested.

Throughout the day, we offered various recommendations for humane consideration and questioned current methods for wildness training which were backed by no international validation. We advised that foreign tourists would be horrified to see such violent acts of cruelty.

Dr. Cochrane also indicated her concern that the dominant tigers would always eat first in such a small enclosure, leaving the less dominant animals to fend for themselves each time. On return to Hong Kong, we mailed enrichment programmes for improving the bears' environment and invited Mr. Zhou to our bear sanctuary in southern China.

 October 1999:

Jill Robinson and Boris Chiao returned to the Bear and Tiger Entertainment City, after learning of some disturbing reports regarding the illegal sale of tiger bone wine and extreme cruelty to pigs and bulls used in entertainment.

On arrival at the park, we joined a local tour group and were invited into a classroom where a lecturer was promoting the usage and sale of bear and tiger bone wines. She advised that they were not allowed to sell tiger products because they are a protected species, but that by making a donation of RMB200, the customer would then receive a free small bottle of tiger bone wine.

In addition, if the customer paid RMB500 they would receive a large bottle of wine, together with an export certificate; "so that there would be no trouble taking it home". She added that they deliberately don't label the bottles with 'tiger bone' so that it is easier to export.

We were led into another room, which held several large urns, apparently containing tiger bones and wine. At one point, the seller opened the lid to one of the pots and quickly pulled out a tiger skull before replacing the lid. She did not allow any photographs. 

(Continued Page 6)

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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