Viral images of a woman fondling with a tiger’s testicles in Thailand’s Chiang Mai have prompted social media backlash reaffirming concerns of mistreatment of big cats in captivity.
Images posted on social media shows the woman cusping an unfazed tiger’s testicles through the fence. The tourist received fierce criticism on social media for messing with the animal after the photos circulated last week.
The recent Netflix documentary Tiger King brought back into the mainstream view the horrors tigers face for tourism. The Netflix release was viewed more than 34 million times within the first 10 days of release making it one of the most-watched in the platform’s history.
According to reports, the Tiger Kingdom staff warned the woman before she crossed the border to reach the tiger for her distasteful selfie.
PETA noted the tiger was ‘suspiciously unfazed in the photograph’ where the largest big cats are often aggressive to threatening stimuli, prompting suspects of drugging the beast to inactivity during the harassment.
The Woman reportedly gave the testes a good squeeze, whereas she was ideally supposed to realize he kitty is not so docile. Animal rights activists have raised concerns over the liberal use of sedatives on big cats in Asian zoos, VICE News reported.
“Pray in your heart and squeeze hard then you will be free from suffering” reads the caption by the woman, who posted her pictures on an animal lovers’ Facebook group, Bangkok Herald reported.
Locals in the group reacted fiercely to the woman’s act, slamming her for humiliating the tiger. The Tiger Kingdom issued a statement following the social media firestorm that tourists will no longer be allowed to touch the genitals of the animals.
“We do not allow tourists to grab the tigers’ testicles but they are allowed to touch any part of the animal’s body as long as our specialists are present,” Pirom Cahntama, head of the zookeepers at the Tiger Kingdom said in a statement.
But ideally, no tigers (or any big cats for that sake) must be touched anywhere in the body for recreational purposes.
“No tiger wants to be touched anywhere on their body by humans, and it’s true that many captive big cats are drugged or beaten into submission and chained so that tourists can take a cheap photo or touch them,” PETA writes.
Animals rights activist groups have raised concerns over the incident, one of them saying this is just the tip of an iceberg for the greater issue.
“Many of the animals used for photo opportunities like these are stolen from the wild by traffickers and spend their entire lives as little more than a prop, never being able to express normal behavior,” an animal rights group told Vice in a statement.
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