Tigers and Chicks, Together At Last!

We had tiger and piglets before, but the zookeepers in china found something new: a group (a streak? an ambush?) of tiger cubs had befriended some newborn chicks!

Workers at Zhejiang Wenling Zoo in Taizhou city put the chicks in a cage with the four month-old tiger cubs.

A zoo spokesman told People's Daily: "We wanted to bring out the savage nature of the tigers while they were still cubs."

But keepers were surprised to see the tigers initially shy away nervously from the chickens.

"Then in no time, they started playing together. Maybe in their eyes, there are no enemies, only friends," added the spokesman.

Link - Thanks Hanah!

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I found it pretty disturbing that the zookeepers put the chicks in a cage full of tigers, expecting that they would be savagely eaten alive. Out in the wild creatures have a fair chance to escape. There are other more humane ways to "bring out their savage nature".

Zoos are just totally unnatural places for wild animals to be spending their lives. And in a country like China, where even many human rights are ignored, I fear for the well being of the animals in captivity there.
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If you put the President Bush in a cage during one month without food and after that you put newborn chicks in the same cage, be quite sure that the survival instinct will soon push him to eat them.
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It's not really that complicated. If the tigers are well-fed, and I'm guessing that they are, then they won't bother eating the chicks. Cut back on the feedings and those chicks will quickly vanish.

And predation is largely instinctive. That's why Sigfried and Roy are retired and why the cute little kitten you adopted keeps bringing you rat heads.

It's not something they can 'unlearn'.
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Good luck ever releasing those tigers into the wild. People get so happy when creatures on different levels of the food chain get along famously in captivity, but all it means is that their instincts (which are needed to survive in the wild) have been totally fudged. Even the zookeepers seemed to acknowledge this, as this whole thing started with an attempt to bring out the tigers' natural instincts, probably in the hopes of making sure they developed properly.

Plus, off the top of my head I can't think of any natural habitat where tigers have ever hunted chickens in the wild. That probably has something to do with it as well. There are also other factors to consider. I really don't understand why people would be surprised about this event.

Lastly, with the amount I've seen stuff like this reported, it's become pretty apparent to me that situations like this must be more or less common, or if not common then fairly repeatable.

I'm such a killjoy, aren't I? Okay, I'll admit, I'd find it pretty cute if I saw it. :)
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