THE Chinese Tiger SA Trust has accused the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) of writing an “inaccurate, spurious and defamatory” article against its tiger conservation efforts.
The trust’s delayed response comes two months after the NSPCA published an article denouncing the organisation for placing blesbok in a captive environment in an attempt to help the tigers learn to hunt.
Spokesperson for the NSPCA Alistair Sinclair drew comparisons between the tiger feeding and an article that appeared in the Saturday Star on January 18.
The article described how visitors to a Chinese zoo paid to feed live animals to the lions.
“Anyone who saw the horrific visuals from China or who read the graphic descriptions of how live animals are fed to carnivores, cannot but agree with the NSPCA and our determination to stop live feeding in South Africa.
“This includes stopping the Chinese Tiger Trust feeding of live prey rather than accepting a verbal undertaking that the procedure will stop,” said Sinclair.
The Chinese Tiger Trust said it had not been able to respond to the article earlier as it had only read it online.
Spokesperson for the trust Li Quan said Sinclair’s equation of its “acclaimed endangered tiger conservation, breeding and re-wilding programme to a Chinese zoo was outrageous”.
Quan said the trust requested a public apology from the NSPCA and the removal of the media release from its website. Quan said that the re-wilding of tigers could only take place if the animals were retrained in their “normal hunting skills prior to reintroduction”.
“We undertook this conservation programme in South Africa to fast-track the re-wilding process by using SA’s esteemed conservation scientists and experienced wildlife managers,” said Quan.
“We are saddened that the NSPCA’s compassion for animals does not extend to those that are critically endangered, like the South China tiger of which fewer than 90 remain,” said Quan. ? Sapa
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