Tiger park... you'd think it is just a name. But apparently they have a wonderful National Park where tigers and lions live in the wild. Actually, we went there because my Australian's friend Chinese wife read in a news paper that due to SARS animals were starving and the add asked people to visit the park so that the money collected from tickets would contribute to maintainance works and improvement of their diet.
Some of the animals live in cages like panthers and hybrids between tigers and lions: they have a very wild nature and can't co-exist peacefully with other species. But, gosh, the animals were gorgeous. There were few albino tigers both young and adult: GORGEOUS!
We enjoyed the trip and on the way there we even bumped into some people with camels (!) so took pictures :-)
In Harbin we took a taxi out to the Siberian Tiger Park where they have about 100 tigers and a few lions. The tigers are not being prepared for independence in the wild and they are totally dependant upon man. The sole purpose of the park appears to be tourist dollars. The flip-side, however, is that the tigers are alive, and their parts not currently for sale in hundreds of pharmacies across China.
They loaded us onto mini-buses and took us through the grounds. The tigers have obviously been fed from these buses and were coming right up to the back windows that could open, where we were sitting. They bumped right up against the buses. At one point a tiger followed us out of his area. The mini-bus driver took us around in circles as we corralled the tiger back into his area. Later on we were walking in this protected walkway through some other tigers.
My friend, Will, joked how they should provide raw meet for the tourists to feed to the tigers. Sure enough, around the next corner was a lady selling live chickens from a basket. Will couldn't resist and bought one. They showed him what to do: hold the live chicken by the wings through this gap and get ready to jump back. The tiger made a huge leap for it, but we were a little too high. He came close enough to give us a hell of a scare, though! Then Will dropped the bird and it was snapped up before it hit the ground.
If you are unlucky (or lucky, depending on your point of view), another person on your bus will have paid to have some poor animal fed to the tigers at the last compound on your route. While it is 'just nature', many people find the fascination that some people have with sadistic animal-on-animal violence a bit worrying. On our trip, one man had paid for a chicken to be put to the gladiators, but the plucky little bird flew straight up on the roof of our bus. It eventually fell off to be torn apart by the tigers. Most of the (males) on our bus were falling over themselves to photograph this spectacle. I have no further comment to make on this, because I'll just get myself into trouble if I do.
The park is worth visiting, in the hope that somehow, perhaps, you are contributing to saving these tigers.
If you are interested in the Manchurian tiger, the following websites provide a lot of information.
This makes an interesting half-day visit from Harbin. It is on the north side of the Songhuajiang river, and about 30RMB in a taxi. It is advisable to get the taxi to wait, as there are not many in this area.
It is difficult to know what to make of the place though. It is ostensibly a breeding and research centre for the Amur Tiger, yet it doesn't show up on the ISIS listing of centres holding Siberian tigers. In fact, there is precious little mention of the place anywhere other than in news stories of keepers being eaten by the tigers occasionally.
There is virtually no educational information at all, other than some photo panels in the waiting 'shed' where you can browse through the....errrr....tasteful tourist souvenirs (yawn).
If the centre is for research purposes, I am curious to know why they need to keep African lions and black panthers there as well.
Tickets are purchased at the exit, as is common in China.(I know. Live with it) You walk across to the shed and wait for a minibus to take you through about eight open compounds where large numbers of extremely impressive Siberian tigers are hanging around looking fierce and very, very big.
The tiger park is worth a trip outside the city. I was expecting something really inhumane and third world, but I was surprised. It's not the San Diego Zoo, but it's pleasant enough. The tigers have room to run and you can get pretty close. When we went there was nobody else at the park and we were free to leisurely walk around. The bus ride through the grounds is worth it.
The park, covering an area of 1.2 million square miles, is located on the northern bank of the Songhua River. It is the largest wild natural park in the world for the northeast tiger. Aspecial tour car allows you to linger through groups of tigers and appreciate the adventurous and exciting scene.
it has 4 parts
1,tiger from 5years old, 8--10 in total amount
2,tiger age from 2-4, total is 10--13
3,white tigers, a couple from Sweden :), 2-3 years old
4,tiger under 1 year old, total amout is around 30
price: 50 yuan/person.
It is the biggest north-east tiger brood base. North-east tiger is the largest tiger in the world.
But before I saw them, I did not believe so. But to see is to believe.