China zoos asked to apologize over tiger abuse caught on video
A Sumatran tiger is shown in Indonesia in this 2009 file photo. (AP / Heri Juanda)
The Associated Press
Published Tuesday, May 7, 2013 9:08AM EDT
BEIJING -- A video and photos of tigers being abused in a pair of incidents during China's May Day holiday have caused public condemnation, prompting apologies and promises that such incidents would not recur.
A city zoo in eastern China has been asked to apologize after a video of a tiger being abused on its premises was posted and circulated online.
In the video, two uniformed men are shown slapping and shaking the head of a lethargic tiger and energetically jumping on its back.
The state-run China News Service said late Monday that the men were employees of a performance troupe that staged tiger shows at Wenling Zoo in eastern China's Zhejiang province during the May Day holiday. It said the men abused the tiger after a show featuring the animal.
China News quoted a local official as saying the Wenling government asked the zoo to apologize, improve its management, ensure proper animal treatment and promise similar incidents would not happen. It said the two men in the video and their boss had disappeared.
Calls to the zoo and the local government rang unanswered Tuesday.
In a separate incident, a tiger tethered with a rope was offered as a prop to photo-taking tourists during the holiday at a tiger park in northeastern Jilin province. One photo showed a person straddling the tiger's back.
Wang Haijun, a park official, told China News that a tiger tamer made the unauthorized decision to allow tourists to take photographs with the animal and that the park management immediately halted the act after hearing about it.
Wang said the tamer is an employee of an animal performance troupe from Anhui province and that the company gave a written promise that similar incidents would not happen again.
Mistreatment of captive or tamed wild animals is an issue in China. Earlier this year, visitors to the city zoo of Hangzhou in Zhejiang province were caught pelting two lions with snowballs.