Wildlife conservation and forestry departments of northeast China's Heilongjiang province announced Thursday that visitors will soon not be allow to pay for pictures with Siberian tiger cubs in a tiger park.
Visitors take photo with a tiger cub in Harbin's Siberian Tiger Park. [www.dbw.cn]
A resident, surnamed Li, living near Siberian Tiger Park, the largest Siberian tiger breeding base in the world, recently complained to the provincial forestry department.
Li said that visitors to the park were allowed to take pictures with Siberian tiger cubs for 100 yuan (about 16 U.S. dollars).
"The cubs cried miserably, and that's so pitiful," said Li, adding that the cubs would hide behind the tree after being photographed.
"Obviously, they aren't willing to do this," Li said.
Li's complaint won the support of local wildlife conservation and forestry departments, and the relevant departments of Heilongjiang decided to stop the profitable activity.
"The activity doesn't abide relevant regulation, and is not conducive to conducting epidemic prevention for the cubs," said Tao Jin, director of wildlife conservation and nature reserve management bureau of the forestry department of Heilongjiang.
Officials of the provincial Commerce Bureau also said Thursday that the practice was not good for the cubs.
However, some wildlife enthusiasts said the practice was understandable as many animal parks and zoos suffer from a lack of funding.
Siberian tigers are among the world's rarest species. Their population in the wild is estimated to stand at around 500. Most of the tigers live in east Russia and northeast China.