Ecns wire

20 Siberian tigers found dead at privately-owned zoo in China

2024-05-13 Editor : Zhao Li ECNS App Download

(ECNS) -- Twenty Siberian tigers, first-class national protected species in China, two African lions, three giraffes, and other precious wildlife were reported to have died in the Fuyang Wildlife Park, a privately-owned zoo in east China’s Anhui province due to a dispute over the park's operating rights, according to an investigation released by China Philanthropist on Monday.

The magazine said 16 surviving Siberian tigers, as well as African lions, giraffes, black bears, and other animals in the park, have been kept in transport cages over a long period and their living conditions were worrying.

In May 2018, local media reported that the Fuyang Wildlife Park was undergoing construction design. The magazine cited the local Forestry Bureau as saying that due to land use issues, the construction of the park was halted for nearly two years.

At that time, the semi-complete park met no environmental standards for the care of wild animals, but still imported 12 giraffes, one of which died under abnormal circumstances.

In China, tigers are flagship species for wildlife conservation. According to regulations, the breeding of nationally protected class-one wildlife must be approved by the Ministry of Forestry, while class-two protected wildlife is approved by provincial forestry authorities.

A document obtained by China Philanthropist from the National Forestry and Grassland Administration shows that on Sept. 11, 2018, the administration denied the park permissionstating that it "lacked the necessary facilities and conditions for artificially breeding Siberian tigers, Asian elephants, and Bengal tigers."

According to data provided by the company that sold animals to the zoo, from October 2019 to March 2023, a total of 10 Siberian tigers had died. From June 2020 to August 2023, 11 tiger cubs were born, but only one survived.

Additionally, in May 2021 and August 2023, two African lions died. One adult giraffe died in 2019, and two giraffes born in 2023 also passed away. There were also varying numbers of deaths among smaller animals like monkeys.

China Philanthropist reporters visited the Fuyang Wildlife Park on Friday and found that the bodies of deceased wild animal cubs were still stored in freezers. The bodies of adult Siberian tigers, African lions, giraffes, black bears, and other animals are piled up in a cold storage room of about 10 square meters, awaiting disposal.

According to a local forestry bureau official, some deaths occurred due to inbreeding among the tigers, resulting in poor genetic health and susceptibility to disease. Additionally, some of the tigers were elderly and frail, leading to natural deaths, the magazine said. 

However, insiders claim that the dispute over operating rights had led to the cessation of staff salaries, expulsion of skilled personnel, and interruption of essential services such as water and electricity. This resulted in the wild animals either dying from thirst and hunger or becoming more susceptible to illnesses, thereby shortening their lifespans, the magazine reported.


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