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White tiger cub bitten to death

By Zhi Yun and Zhao Ruixue (China Daily)

08:50, July 12, 2012

A white tiger cub was bitten to death by three Bengal tigers in a wildlife park in Shandong province, a statement by the park confirmed on Wednesday.

"The most likely reason is excessive frolic," said the statement from the Shendiao Mountain Wildlife Park in Rongcheng county, in Weihai, East China's Shandong province. The park was responding to public queries about possible hunger fighting and animal abuse.

The tiger cub was bitten on Monday morning and died at about 6 pm on Tuesday, according to the statement. A photographer recorded the incident.

The photographer, surnamed Wang, posted four pictures of three tigers biting and ripping the cub on iqilu.com on Monday night. Wang, 48, a Weifang resident who did not want to give his full name, said he visited the park at 7:50 am on Monday. Upon arriving at the area containing beasts of prey, he saw the bloody scene.

"There were five tigers at the spot when we arrived there and they all looked quite young. It seemed like the tiger cub was just mauled to death. Many tourists were screaming," he said. "Some tourists informed the park's staff, and it took about 10 minutes for the staff to get to the spot and drive away the tigers."

The pictures soon attracted much attention online, and the public raised queries. Netizens suspected it may have been hunger fighting because the park did not provide enough food for the animals.

The park said in its statement that each sub-adult tiger is provided with a standard meal of 2 kg of beef, 0.5 kg of chicken neck and bones and eggs and cod liver oil to meet their needs. The three Bengal tigers did not eat the cub after the attack, so there was no hunger clashing, the statement said.

A park manager surnamed Liang said the three Bengal tigers had just turned 1 and the white tiger cub was 10 months old. They had been raised in the same zone for the past seven months and got along really well. The only difference was that the Bengal tigers were breast-fed and the cub was given dog milk.

"The nature of the white tiger is much tamer than the Bengal tiger. After feeding on dog milk, the white tiger can lack savagery compared to Bengal tigers," he said. He said the park will raise animals in different zones according to their species, and install monitoring equipment in every zone in the park to avoid similar incidents in the future.

A team sent by the provincial forestry department will arrive to investigate the case on Thursday, Liang said. He added that an official report will be released soon.

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