The awe-inspiring video was actually taken from within a tiger farm in China.
Recently, a captivating video of Siberian tigers playfully hunting (and later destroying) a drone made rounds on the internet. Numerous media outlets shared the footage as it was guaranteed to engage fans. The Verge, for example, wrote:
“Wow, it’s such a good video. All the beautiful tigers look up at the sky and run around. Eventually they get the drone, and get their heart rates up in the process. Good for them. Good for me.”
British television network ITV News also Tweeted the clip with the caption: “A drone is knocked out of the sky after being chased by a group of tigers in China.”
In the eyes of 🐯 🐯🐯: A drone is knocked out of the sky after being chased by a group of tigers in China pic.twitter.com/fiEghQKwR4
— ITV News (@itvnews) February 23, 2017
While there’s no denying that the video is intriguing to watch, there’s a darker side to the post few know about. As it turns out, the tigers are a few of many who live in captivity at Harbin Siberian Tiger Park – the largest park of its kind in China. The farm was transformed into a tourist park in the 90’s after a national ban on the domestic trade of tiger products was instated. However, a visit by McClatchy investigative reporters revealed that the park still sells tiger bones, pelts, and something called “bone wine.” They “found animals in deplorable conditions… merchants openly sold bone wine, despite a 1993 ban by China on bone products sourced from both domesticated and wild tigers.”
In result, it’s unlikely that these tigers will ever be released into the wild. And that’s important because sharing the video results in the tiger farm – which operators under the guise of animal rescue – receiving more attention.
“These facilities breed tigers for tourist entertainment while they’re alive, and their parts are reportedly used for luxury and medicinal products,” explained Ben Pearson from World Animal Protection. “Among the welfare issues with the footage is that tigers are solitary animals, so it is unnatural for so many to live together.”
Photos of obese tigers that some have deemed to be “cute” are sourced from the Harbin Siberian Tiger Park, as well. As was recently reported, tourists are partly to blame for the big cats’ pudgy figures, as they throw live animals to the tigers, such as chickens and goats.
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