In a viral video (see below), trainers at an animal circus in China can be seen tying up a tiger for visitors to ride on and take photographs with. The only way to make these highly intelligent and powerful hunters pose for the camera is to keep them under constant threat of punishment, intimidate them, and restrain them. The tiger in the video is bound and strapped so tightly that the animal can’t even lift his or her head, while a caged bear paces in the background, exhibiting the psychological damage that’s commonly observed in animals used in circuses.
This abuse is not unique to China. Other facilities, such as the Sriracha Tiger Zoo and the Samui Aquarium & Tiger Zoo, both located in Thailand, continue to allow people to take selfies with tigers. Facilities like these give people the false impression that big cats are little more than cuddly kitties who can be used and abused for our entertainment.
Thailand’s Tiger Temple—which closed last year after 137 tigers from the cruel attraction were seized and transferred to animal refuges around the country—heavily sedated tigers so that tourists could touch and hug them or snap a selfie for a fee. The tigers’ movements were restricted, and the resident monks at the temple reportedly beat the frustrated animals when they refused to cooperate.
No tiger would trade freedom for captivity—to be caged, dominated, tied down, whipped, and used as a prop for a tacky photo.
Remember: Animals are not our selfie props. If there’s any risk that your photo is going to hurt or stress an animal, it’s not worth it.
What You Can Do
Never patronize any place that profits from exploiting animals, and leave wildlife in peace.