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article imageChinese zoo blamed for starving 11 tigers to death

By Sam Duck     Mar 12, 2010 in World
The gross neglect of Siberian tigers at a Chinese zoo has led to eleven deaths of the endangered creatures in the past three months. It is reported that the animals were underfed and malnourished because the zoo was encountering financial struggles.
The Shenyang Forest Wild Animal Zoo has purportedly had problems with money since opening to the public in December 2000. It is located in China’s north-east in Shenyang, the capital of Liaoning province.
The tigers appear to have been under poor care for an extended period with incidents from over two years ago said to be caused by their ravenous state.
In late 2007 a tiger was killed and eaten by four other desperate tigers. The attacked beast, which was 12-years-old and weighed 330 pounds, had lived with the other four for five years.
Even at this stage Li Wen Shui, part of Shenyang Forest Wild Animal Zoo’s management, admitted, "The zoo is in a financial crisis and we haven't been able to provide the tigers with sufficient food for the last two years.”
An attack on a keeper in November should also have served as an ominous warning as to the tigers’ state. Two of the tigers lashed out at and severely mauled a keeper. Both animals shot dead in the rescue effort.
Officials blamed the attack on the tigers hunger and desperation for food. Unfortunately, rather than the tigers being rescued from their torturous life, work safety officers demanded the tigers be caged to improve worker safety. This only pushed the vulnerable creatures further into a state of severe illness, leading to their ultimate demise.
The animals, which should have received around 20 lbs of meat a day, were restricted to a cost cutting diet of chicken bones. Liu Xiaoqiang, the deputy head of the wild animal protection office in Shenyang has said, "Many privately-owned zoos are under financial pressure, and most of them fail to feed the animals well."
China has reported that almost 6,000 tigers are kept in captivity. Most of which are bred for, under the guise of restoring them to the wild, use in traditional medicine and aphrodisiacs.
Siberian tigers are among the world’s rarest animals with as few as 300 remaining in the wild.
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