China’s Tiger Farms: Part 2/2

May 21, 2013

Tourists may buy live animals for the tigers to kill and eat. Chickens are the best price.

Allowing the tourists to buy live food for the tigers has to do with money – but money is not the key factor.

In artificial breeding, the park feeds the tigers a fixed diet using artificial or processed food. This diet might eventually lead to malnutrition. The most important thing for the tourists is that they are helping feed the cats.

Feeding the tigers live animals is also part of a long-term project with a goal of releasing tigers back into the wild.

There is another park near Changbai Mountain that has about fifteen specially selected tigers.

These tigers still live behind a fence. However sending tigers to the Changbai Mountains allows them to be more experienced with the natural environment.

The Hunchun Nature Reserve was established in 2001 for the protection of wild Siberian tigers and leopards.

Before releasing the tigers into the wild, the big cats must be given the appropriate wild-habitat training. The first step is for the tiger to adapt to the climate changes of the four seasons. Next, the tigers’ hunting ability must be improved.

Since the Changbai Mountains share a border with North Korea, the big cats are allowed to travel between countries. In the past, the border was divided by iron and wire mesh fences, which blocked the tigers. Now the fence is gone.

It is believed that with wild training over time and with the efforts of several generations of scientists, the tigers will finally return to nature.

Return to China’s Tiger Farms: Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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China’s Tiger Farms: Part 1/2

May 20, 2013

Steven McDonald reports from the Chinese North Korean border. Siberian tigers once roamed this area in the thousands, but as the forest disappeared so did they.

In 2007, it was estimated that 12 wild tigers remained in China’s northeast. This small gene pool has led to genetic deficiencies. The Associated Press reported the tiger could be extinct in a dozen years if left unprotected.

Individual tigers once roamed over a territory of 50 square kilometers or more, but today there isn’t much forest left to support even a few hundred in the wild.

Today, visiting the Siberian tiger park 37 km north of the city of Harbin is recommended unless you are squeamish since live animals are fed to the tigers.

Big Cat News reports that the tiger park sits on almost 400 acres of land and is one of the largest tiger refuges in the world.

A group of Chinese scientists is attempting to save the Siberian tiger and captive breeding has been successful.

The Harbin Tiger Park has more than four hundred. A sister park has about three hundred. In all of China, there are about 2,000 in captivity.

With such a small population, a DNA database is used to avoid losing genetic diversity. Tigers discovered to have flaws are not allowed to mate.


Feeding Time

However, the park has a shortage of money. China’s government provides some funding, but the park relies mostly on tourism and ticket sales. It costs more than four million dollars annually to feed the 700 tigers in the two parks.

Continued on May 21, 2013 in China’s Tiger Farms: Part 2

_______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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