At least eleven Siberian tigers have starved to death in the past three months at a northeastern wildlife zoo that was closed for disciplinary reform after a violent tiger assault last year, the China News Agency reported Friday.
"For each day, the tigers get only one or two chickens. Even that stingy meat won't come now; some have starved for two days already," said Liu Xiaoqiang, a local wildlife protection official.
Food supply at the poor-performing Shenyang Forest Wild Life Zoo, a private enterprise in northeast China's Liaoning province, was insufficient for its more than 30 tigers, leading to a series of horrific diseases, including heart and renal failures, hemorrhagic enteritis and myocarditis.
Since last November, when two Siberian tigers at the zoo were shot dead after their assaults on a feeder, all the tigers have been confined to narrow cages with no open ground exercises, further deteriorating the famished animals' immunity.
"Eleven Siberian tigers died in three months! Death rate like this is really unheard of," said Liu, adding that one fatality every three to five years is the norm.
However, the Siberian tigers, a precious breed in China, are not the only victims. Another 30 wild animals have starved during the same period. The zoo has long been defamed for its bad treatment of wild animals, whose population has halved to 518 since its opening in 2000.