Yesterday, on Sunday, January 29, a man was fatally attacked by a tiger in the Youngor zoo, in Ningbo, East of China. The feline was then shot by security teams after several attempts at dispersion with water cannons.
In a statement by the zoo officials after the accident, the administrative committee of Dongqian Lake Tourist Resort, explained that the man – Mr. Zhang – scaled the wall of the enclosure with a friend in order to avoid paying the entrance fee.
Mr. Zhang's wife and two children were also at the park. The two friends jumped over the first wall, which measured about 3 meters, to get into the zoo, and a second wall of the same height, which was the tiger enclosure.
Mr. Zhang was then attacked by three big cats after stepping into the enclosure, while his friend stayed behind. The attack took place around 14h00 (local time) in plain sight of all the visitors, who captured the scene on video. (Warning: graphic content).
The security team first tried to send the tigers on their way by shooting water out of cannons at them. The local police then intervened and fatally shot one of the tigers. Mr. Zhang was transported in an ambulance to hospital and succumbed to his injuries several hours later.
In defense of the zoo, a manager said that there were numerous signs fixed to the walls that the men had scaled.
The scandal has provoked many reactions on Chinese social networks, where many users mention the man's irresponsible acts. BBC reported a comment from a Weibo user, which is China's equivalent of Facebook:
This visitor's death by mauling really does not deserve any sympathy. Tigers are the carnivorous kings of the jungle and hunting for food is their instinct, who can you blame if you jump in and get attacked? Rest in peace, tiger.
The Asian branch of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) reacted by indicating that this accident highlights the problems posed by the captivity of tigers and other large felines. Jason Baker, vice-president of international campaigns for PETA, explained:
Attacks by captive big cats on people – which occur with staggering regularity – illustrate the profound level of stress, anxiety and agitation these animals experience every day of their lives.
An investigation has been opened to determine the precise causes of the event.
While zoos may be educational and informative, animals were not put on this earth to be trapped in small enclosures for humans to look at and take selfies with.
They deserve to be in the wild, enjoying their freedom and not suffering cramped and terrible living conditions for the sake of visitors.
To find out more about what you can do, visit PETA's campaign to shut down zoos.
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