The Million Years Stone Park and Pattaya Crocodile Farm in Thailand is under fire after one of its tiger handlers was caught on video abusing an animal as he pokes it with a long stick to make it roar for tourist photos.
The video, which was posted on Facebook and has been watched more than 2 million times, shows a zoo attendant prodding and jabbing the chained tiger to make it roar as tourists sit behind it for souvenir photos.
“Today witnessed the ugliness of tourism and wildlife in Pattaya; this tiger gets poked all day, hundreds of times a day so it will roar for the picture with tourists. Time for a change of laws! Sharing this in advance of Thai National wildlife day on December 26th,” the original poster, Edwin Wiek, wrote.
Animal rights activists in Thailand are also doing their part to raise awareness on how the tourism industry in the country treats its animals, taking this case as an example.
“We will be creating campaign videos regarding the treatment of animals in the tourism industry here in Thailand. This is an example of how tigers are treated so idiotic tourists can get their holiday selfie,” Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand wrote in its post.
The Million Years Stone Park and Pattaya Crocodile Farm took several measures after the video went viral on Facebook. A spokeswoman for the Pattaya zoo told AFP via AsiaOne that the man shown in the video has already been transferred to another job following the criticism the establishment received online.
“The owner, he loves animals and he will not allow staff to hurt his animals,“ the spokeswoman added.
Meanwhile, Wiek believes that this practice of getting up close and personal with wild animals are risky for humans.
“We believe that the taking of selfies with wildlife should be stopped completely. Every year hundreds of people are bitten or clawed in similar situations,” he told AFP.
Other exotic animals have also become the fuel to a lucrative tourist attraction in Thailand, with some reportedly offering a chance for tourists to ride elephants, hold monkeys and even pet tigers for a decent price.
Featured Image Screenshot via Facebook / Edwin Wiek