The thrilling video of a group of tigers chasing a drone in a Siberian enclosure of China is still fresh in our minds. Liked and shared by people all over the globe, the video became immensely popular, and is still on the crest of its dream run. However, this eye-grabbing and attractive video has a thick layer of murkiness underneath it. John R Platt, a science journalist, was the first to uncover and bring to light the actual place the video was shot — a tiger slaughter farm in northeast China called ‘Harbin Siberian Tiger Park’!
This tiger farm, as reported by McClatchy, keeps “animals in deplorable conditions” and “merchants openly sold bone wine, despite a 1993 ban by China on bone products sourced from both domesticated and wild tigers.” Underscoring the cruel treatment of animals under China’s wildlife law, Toby Zhang – a Chengdu-based researcher for Animals Asia Foundation, a non-profit organisation – said to McClatchy, “China’s wildlife law has all kinds of problems. It effectively encourages people to breed tigers and other animals and use their parts for commerce.”
Revealing other animal atrocities that go unchecked in the Harbin Siberian Tiger Park, Big Cat Rescue, a famous accredited sanctuary dedicated to abused and abandoned big cats, reports, “..visitors have the unique opportunity to sentence hapless farm creatures — starting at RMB 50 for a chicken and going up to RMB 1,500 for a cow — to becoming tiger feed. It may seem cruel to the farm animals that are unceremoniously dumped out of a food truck into the middle of 10 insatiable Siberian tigers but it certainly makes the tigers very happy.”
Well, in a world already rife with instances of animal cruelty, this appalling news wriggling out of this so called ‘Tiger Park’ in China, will surely send shock waves through the hearts of animal lovers. And, hopefully, the video of the tigers chasing a drone that we found so appealing in the first place will soon turn into an object of dread and severe censure.