Malaysia wildlife park under fire over drugged tiger video
The two-minute clip shows the apparently drugged tiger being poked and prodded while visitors pose for pictures.
Sun, May 23 2010 at 3:08 AM
HISTORY OF ABUSE: The park has been warned before about having simular photo sessions.
A Malaysian wildlife park came under fire Sunday from wildlife activists over a video posted on YouTube showing an apparently drugged tiger being prodded and poked for the amusement of visitors.
The two-minute clip shows the tiger lying on a slab at a wildlife park in the Afamosa resort while a handler invites visitors walking around it to take pictures with the animal.
The handler then prods and pokes the big cat to force it to pose and even uses his knee to jab its head into an upright pose for a photograph.
"This is horrible and a disgrace that an animal is treated in this fashion. We must stop such abuse and the perpetrators must be punished," Friends of the Earth Malaysia president S.M. Idris told AFP.
Wildlife trade watchdog TRAFFIC criticized the park's use of captive tigers for entertainment.
"If they acquire tigers for this use, it gives Malaysia a very bad reputation as it shows the park is using the tigers for entertainment instead of educational purposes," senior officer Kanitha Krishnasamy told AFP.
Afamosa resort general manager Allan Chee denied the tiger was abused at the park, which has more than 20 tigers and numerous other species.
"There was no abuse to the tiger, the tiger was just drowsy and lazy after being fed and so was being prodded by the handler to get into position," he told AFP.
He said the park in southern Malacca state prided itself on its animal performances, with elephants playing football and others allowed to roam freely.
However, state wildlife and national parks head Abdul Rahim Othman told AFP the park had been warned over having such photo sessions with animals, which can be viewed as abuse.
"We have warned them and will carry out further investigations and if they continue to violate our warnings, we can take action against them including pulling their licences," he said.
Just 3,200 tigers are believed to remain in the wild, down from an estimated 100,000 a century ago.
Copyright 2010 AFP Asian Edition