Who would win in a fight between a man and a tiger? What about a man, a tiger and a chicken? The elusive question has now been answered thanks to some curious visitors of the Changsha Ecological Zoo who played tug of war with caged tigers using live chickens.
According to the zoo staff, when lying around with nothing to do and having food served to them, zoo animals often become lazy, overweight and even lose interest in any kind of physical or intellectual stimulation. They came up with a very interesting but controversial way of keeping the animals in shape through tug of war games. The game is as simple as it gets: the visitors pull at one end of a rope and at the other, the tiger bites and pulls at a hessian bag with a live chicken inside. The chicken is an added bonus meant to engage the tiger’s interest and keep him on his toes. Apart from training the animals, the game was designed as a mean of entertainment for the upcoming National Day Holiday. For 45 yuan ($7), anyone can play and it seems there are many courageous folks willing to measure their strength against the powerful beasts. So far, the tigers are in the lead, winning most of the tug of war games, with one 4 year old Siberian tiger demonstrating his muscle superiority by tackling 7 men at the same time.
The tigers remain in their enclosure so nobody gets hurt, no human that is. The tug of war games weren’t well received by avid animal lovers or by animal rights activists who claim that the games are abusive and that the tigers could easily lose their teeth. In fact, animal lovers are so concerned about the health of the tigers’ teeth, that they seem to have forgotten about the poor chicken sentenced to be crushed in their jaws. According to the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, any shows involving the animals held at the zoo are prohibited and should have been banned since July. Evidently, the guys at the Changsha Ecological Zoo didn’t get the memo.
Tiger tug-of-war isn’t anything new. Visitors at the Busch Gardens Zoo, in Tampa Bay, Florida, have been testing their strength against tigers for years, but the Chinese did add a new ingredient to the game, the live chicken.