Footage captured at a zoo in Beijing, China shows a captive tiger walking in endless circles in his enclosure. A staff member told reporters that this type of behavior is actually common for animals who have been staying at the zoo for a long time.
Representatives with the zoo say that the Bengal tiger was later given “psychological counseling” after zookeepers noticed the strange behavior. However, the so-called “psychological counseling” that the animal was given did not seem very professional.
“We have taken the animal to receive behavior training. We also brought more food and toys for the tiger. It’s like “psychological counseling”,’ a zookeeper told reporters.
When tigers are in the wild, they usually cover a lot of ground and do a lot of exploring in their day to day activities, and that is what their instincts tell them to do.
The enclosure that the animal was kept in was just a giant cage or fence, with no semblance of a tiger’s natural habitat. This is why many zoos at least make an attempt to recreate an animal’s natural habitat in their enclosures. Unfortunately, the zoo where this tiger was held did not implement these types of natural landscapes in the animal’s enclosure, leading to severe psychological stress.
Sun Quanhui, a senior scientific adviser at a non-profit organization called World Animal Protection China told the South China Morning Post that this is a common problem in Chinese zoos.
“Let’s just give the example of how beasts of prey are kept. In almost every Chinese zoo, we see them in cement cages or behind steel bars, which to some extent is considered maltreatment. Some are species that naturally live in groups, but they’re often isolated, which also causes them huge psychological distress.” Quanhui said.
Tigers are listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List since 1986. As of 2015, the global wild tiger population was estimated to number between 3,062 and 3,948, but the number in captivity is far higher.
Image Credit: Asia Newswire