Tiger deaths trouble activists

Some blame zoo’s financial problems for tiger deaths

Nearly a dozen Siberian tigers have died suspiciously in the past three months at a zoo in China’s chilly northeast, despite the country’s recent conservation efforts to save dwindling numbers of one of the world’s rarest species, according to The Associated Press.

Reports said 11 of the 30 tigers at the Shenyang Forest Wild Animal Zoo starved to death from having been fed nothing but chicken bones. However, a zoo manager claimed “unspecified diseases” killed the tigers. Three other tigers at the zoo are seriously ill.

The zoo has been in dire financial straits for an extended period of time and has been up for auction without any bidders. The Shenyang municipal government has pledged $1 million to help the zoo and its animals, and since news of the deaths the remaining animals have been fed hearty meals each day and heating has been installed in their cages.

Animal protection groups have criticized Chinese zoos and wildlife parks for deliberately breeding more animals than they can afford, hoping to sell carcasses onto the black market.