China tiger park strapped for cash

HARBIN, China, Aug. 14 (UPI) — The manager of a Chinese park that’s home to more than 700 Siberian tigers has said the attraction is having trouble feeding the growing population of big cats.

Wang Ligang, manager of the Heilongjiang Siberian Tiger Park, said the trouble stems from the rapid increase in population, with more than 100 cubs born each year, reported Xinhua, China’s official government-run news agency.

“We’re very happy to see new cubs being born, but we’re worried about how to feed them properly with our limited funds,” Wang said.

The park, which serves as the largest breeding center for the endangered cats in captivity, makes about $1.5 million from ticket sales annually. However, Wang said, “each carnivore eats ($10) of raw meat a day, which adds up to ($2.5 million) a year for all 700 tigers,”

The park’s chief engineer, Liu Dan, said the park’s Siberian tiger population is expected to exceed 1,000 by 2010.

The big cats, sometimes called Amur or Manchurian tigers, are native to China and Russia. They are considered one of the 10 most endangered species in the world.

http://www.upi.com/NewsTrack/view.php?StoryID=20060814-110127-6911r

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