“What happens when you combine ferocious Siberian tigers with modern technology? Bouncing, pouncing, and even a bit of trouncing”
Handlers used the drone to give the tigers, which CCTV described earlier this month as “chubby,” some much-needed exercise.
As the tigers romped around, one tiger managed to knock the drone to the ground, where it proceeded to claw and chew on the device. The other tigers moved closer, curious to explore the drone. The drone began to smoke, which caused the tigers to move back. Handlers came to retrieve the mangled machine.
That’s the description underneath a video of a pack of tigers chasing down a drone that was posted on YouTube this week. The footage went viral as viewers delighted in the “chubby” tigers flexing their hunting muscles and tearing apart the piece of modern gadgetry.
But there’s more to the story than that, the video was uploaded by China’s state-run media network CCTV+, which is automatically a bit suspicious because Chinese internet is notoriously locked-down – including the Google-run video-sharing site. Secondly, the location of the video is given as being Heilongjiang Province in China – home to Harbin Siberian Tiger Park. A report in 2013 from the Environmental Investigation Agency fingered Harbin as one of the biggest tiger-breeding centers in the entire country. They are bred for meat, bones and their pelts.
The first two are highly valued in traditional Chinese medicine and wine while the famous striped coats go into making fashion accessories. It may be advertised to the public as a tourist attraction, complete with laughably cute internet videos of tigers chasing drones. But in actual fact it’s a slaughterhouse where the big cats will be butchered in order to make money. In 2014, a reporter visited the park and saw first-hand bottles of wine made with tiger bone on sale there – despite the practice being made illegal in 1993.
“Since the 1940s, China’s wild tiger population has dropped from about 4,000 to an estimated 20 to 50 animals,” the report states.
“A visit to the park also reveals that many of the park’s 500 Siberian tigers are kept in small cages, visibly rolling in their excrement.
“The potential revenue gives park managers little incentive to keep the tigers alive.”
According to the report, 500g of Siberian tiger bone can fetch up to $5,000. A bottle of wine made with tiger bone can range from $80 to $600.
Poor Siberian tigers, we hope that the government can protect these kind of animals.
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