Plump furry animals can seem cute but are they healthy? This is the debate that has gripped people online. Pictures of really obese tigers rolling on the floor have gone viral on social media and it has raised some serious concerns about animals’ health conditions.
The viral pictures of the obese tigers at the Siberian Tiger Park in Harbin City, northeastern China have amused Netizens and received strong criticism from animal welfare groups. The big cats have reportedly been overfed by their carers and the visitors coming to the park. According to reports, visitors are able to purchase “live chickens and strips of beef” which they can directly feed to the tigers.
People on Chinese social media also joked that the tigers ate too much during the Spring Festival holiday.
Park workers claim there is nothing to worry about – alleging that it is common for tigers to put on weight over the winter months as they are treated well to combat harsh winter conditions. But assured that over the spring, the wild cats shed weight.
However, the Born Free Foundation, one of the world’s leading conservation organisations has strongly lashed upon the zookeepers, saying the “tigers are ill.”
“These tigers appear very obese, indicative of a wholly inappropriate and unnatural diet, woefully inadequate opportunities for natural behaviour and exercise, and the constants of captivity. In my view, this is not funny or “cute”. These animals are ill,” Will Travers OBE, President of the Born Free Foundation said in a press release.
The foundation argued that tigers are naturally agile hunters, with naturally large home ranges and obesity would simply not be seen in wild tigers.