Video footage of a young girl walking a tiger cub has sparked heated discussions on Weibo. According to a post on the Beijing News’ Weibo account, the video was captured on October 10 at a zoo in Quanzhou, Fujian province. In the video, the little girl, reportedly 9 years old, is seen walking and playing with a tiger cub outside of its enclosure.
The 9-year-old is the daughter of a zookeeper surnamed Sun, according to the Weibo post. In an interview, Sun told the Beijing News that his daughter would exercise the 3-month-old feline on occasion after it has been fed.
“It [the tiger cub] has been cared for by my daughter since birth… She grew up with me in the zoo, playing with tigers, pigs and cats,” Sun said, adding that he is a seasoned zookeeper with 20 years of experience and that walking the tiger poses no danger. “The tiger is very young and unaggressive. We would lock it up if it is aggressive.”
Netizens on Weibo responsed actively, mostly with negative comments. Some accused Sun of a lack of professional ethics, while others worried that the little big cat could be harmed by the girl, pointing out that the tiger cub can be seen ‘limping’ at one point in the footage.
“Tigers are highly protected animals in China. Is walking a tiger against regulations?” one Weibo user questioned.
Watch footage of the two youngsters below (VPN off):
[Cover image: screengrab via QQ video]