Zoo denies white tiger cub was eaten by starving companions

Chinese wildlife park claims rare white tiger cub was killed by four older tigers due to 'excessive frolic'

LAST UPDATED AT 12:07 ON Thu 12 Jul 2012

A CHINESE zoo has denied that the horrific mauling to death of a white tiger cub by four young Bengal tigers happened because the animals were starving.

Officials at the wildlife park have put the incident down instead to "excessive frolic".

Photos of three of the one-year-old Bengal tigers apparently feeding on the 10-month-old rare white cub they had just killed were posted on the internet earlier this week by a visitor to Shendiao Mountain Wildlife Park in China's Shandong province.

The photographer told China Daily: "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.

"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 photographs provoked disgust on the internet, and there were claims that the reason the Bengal tigers had attacked the cub was because they were starving.

Shendiao Mountain Wildlife Park denies this. In a statement, the zoo insisted that the tigers are provided with sufficient food every day and that during Monday's incident they did not in fact eat the cub.

The statement concluded: "The most likely reason is excessive frolic."

A park manager said that all five tigers had been raised together, the only difference in their upbringing being that the white cub had been fed on dogs' milk while the Bengal tigers had been suckled by their mother.

A park manager said: "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."

An official report is expected to be released following an investigation by forestry department experts. · 

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