I’m so tired of getting these photos already. In case you need a response when you get these, here you go…….
As a matter of fact, this is a very old series of photos that has become “viral” on the internet, much to the chagrin of true big cat conservationists. To begin with, the snapshots were taken at the Sriracha Tiger Zoo in Chonburi, Thailand (near Bangkok), not some nameless zoo in California. Moreover, it would appear that the sad tale of the tigress falling into a deep depression after losing a litter of cubs was fabricated, as was the claim that the piglets were substituted for the deceased cubs by zookeepers in order to console the "mourning mother."
As it happens, this sort of intermingling of species is not at all unusual at the Sriracha Tiger Zoo, where "creating successful relationships with animals of different species" is something of a guiding principle. The facility, more accurately described as part zoo and part circus, boasts offbeat attractions like basketball-playing elephants, "lady crocodile wrestlers," and a petting zoo where customers can bottle-feed baby tigers with their own bare hands (the absolute worst sign of abuse in a facility). Visitors have reported seeing tigers, pigs, and dogs all housed together within the same enclosure, with sows nursing tiger cubs and tigresses nursing piglets "adorned in tiger-print costumes."
The costumes are strictly for show, by the way. The mother tiger pictured, who has been photographed on other occasions suckling piglets au naturel, was herself nursed by a pig in infancy and apparently regards the other species as family, not prey.
The Sriracha Tiger Zoo has been illegally breeding protected wildlife for export & implicated in the sale of 100’s of tigers to China where they are highly prized as parts in traditional Chinese medicine. The AWI also noted that, in 2004, the zoo was closed for a month when 80-100 tigers died or were euthanized.
These photos, like so many others of the cross-species nurturing type, may be genuine, but there is so much more to this story than meets the eye. 9 times out of 10, it is a horrific situation for the animals and is being spread over the internet just for publicity and ill-gotten donations – not for the good of animal welfare.
PLEASE help us spread this factual story rather than the fantasy most assume from these pictures. You’ll be doing the animals who are suffering so much more by sending this along to educate the masses to this type of abuse. They are being exploited by this fantasy.
Thank you on their behalf,
Julie Hanan, Senior Keeper, Big Cat Rescue, Tampa, FL