At Harbin Siberian Tiger Park, feeding time is a spectator sport.
Now home to more than 1,000 tigers, the park, located in northern China, is one of the world’s largest and most successful conservation parks for the endangered animals. The park, which was intended to be a sanctuary and breeding center, now is a stop for many excited tourists.
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At the park, patrons can now (for a fee) watch Siberian tigers be fed live animals. On a visit, patrons are able to choose from a menu — the animals they wish to see fed to the tigers. Current rates according to the Today show, run $8 USD for a chicken, $90 for a sheep and $300 for a cow.
The graphic scenes of tigers feeding on live prey have become popular on YouTube, amplifying awareness of this particular practice.
Park patrons view the scene from what the park calls the “Number One Adventure Bus.” One incident this past January resulted in the death of one of the bus drivers. The driver was killed after being dragged off by one of the park’s tigers in an attempt to check the bus’s engine.
Reactions have varied from praise for the park’s efforts to protect the endangered tigers (there remain approximately 20 in the wild in China) to outrage on the part of those who question whether or not the Harbin Siberian Tiger Park is making a spectacle out of conservation.
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