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China wildlife park under investigation over deaths of 20 Siberian tigers

China wildlife park under investigation over deaths of 20 Siberian tigers

15 May 2024

A privately owned wildlife park in eastern China is being investigated following reports of abnormal deaths of several animals in recent years, including at least 20 Siberian tigers.

The Fuyang Wildlife Park, located in the Yingdong district of Fuyang City, is at the centre of a controversy after reports in local media alleged that animals were kept in inhumane conditions.

The outrage against the zoological park forced them to suspend operations for three days. The park is accused of illegally breeding protected Siberian tigers and prematurely housing animals while still under construction, a report by the China Philanthropist magazine revealed.

The report further alleged that since 2018, when the animals were acquired, many have died due to inadequate facilities. The report stated that some of the animals were being kept in small cages for years, which led them to develop physical disabilities.

Many animals lost their lives, including 20 Siberian tigers, two African lions, and three giraffes. Siberian tigers are listed as first-level protected animals in China.

The report detailed the cramped and dark living conditions that the animals endured, with corpses discovered during an on-site visit. Black bears and tigers were confined in small iron enclosures, and tigers and lions kept in dimly lit rooms, the report said. There were also stacks of animal carcasses preserved in a freezer.

In 2018, 33 Siberian tigers, 11 black bears, five lions, three camels, and various other wildlife were reportedly acquired by the park from Fuyang Tengfei Domestication Exhibition Co., Ltd. (or Tengfei Company) for a total of $350,000.

Despite a refusal from China’s National Forestry and Grassland Administration to permit artificial breeding, the park continued its operations, reports said. Authorities in Fuyang city have formed an investigative team to examine the deaths and look into these allegations.

Animal rights advocates, including PETA Asia, condemned the zoo for its treatment of animals and highlighted broader issues of animal mistreatment in captivity worldwide.

“It’s heartbreaking to hear that 20 tigers, two lions, three giraffes and many other wild animals have reportedly died in recent years at the decrepit Fuyang Wildlife Park,” Jason Baker, vice president of PETA Asia, said in a statement.

“Fuyang Zoo seems to have become a grim refuge for animals displaced from the collapsing circus industry,” Mr Baker added.

On Weibo, China’s social media platform, commentators expressed concern and anger over the loss of wildlife at the zoo. “These animals should be living freely in the vast grasslands and forests. They are living in dark and cramped areas. How can they grow well in such conditions?” one user was quoted as saying by the Global Times. “If we can’t take care of them properly, we should find another way. If this continues, what will be the fate of the remaining animals?”

Li Lianghua, Tengfei’s legal representative, said in April 2019, the firm discovered the zoo had ceased operations while transporting 25 tigers from Shanghai to Fuyang. “When I saw the environment was unsuitable for Siberian tigers, I didn’t dare transport any more,” Li Lianghua was quoted as saying by The Lai Times. Local media reports named Anhui Qicai Wildlife Park Co Ltd as the park’s operator. There is a lack of clarity over who was responsible for the park’s operations.

Pan Zhichao, the legal representative for the Anhui Qicai Wildlife Park Co Ltd, said that Tengfei Company has no relationship with the zoo, and it is currently a “malicious occupation” of Fuyang Wildlife Park.

Source : The Independent News

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