Animal rights activists are calling for Dreamworld to ditch its new VIP Tiger Cub Experience, which invites travellers to get up close & personal with two seven-week-old tiger cubs.
The new tiger experience, which launched this month at Dreamworld, was described by World Animal Protection as bad practice citing the fact that wild creatures such as these weren’t born to entertain humans.
As part of the Gold Coast theme park and zoo’s new offering, travellers can pay $139 per person for a VIP Experience or $199 per person for an Ultimate Experience, during which they can take photos and ‘play’ with cubs for 20 minutes on Tiger Island.
It’s the first time the attraction has allowed visitors to interact with Big Cats in such an intimate way and all proceeds from the experience will go towards the park’s anti-poaching charity, The Wildlife Foundation.
Despite the positive intention, animal activists from World Animal Protection were quick to note that “tigers are not photo props” and shouldn’t be treated as such by humans.
In a statement, the group’s Senior Campaign Manager, Ben Pearson, said that the VIP Tiger Cub Experience mimics similar offers in Southeast Asia where animal welfare standards and breeding programmes are “awful”, and thus gives unsuspecting tourists the impression that those venues are acceptable.
“Allowing visitors to directly interact with tiger cubs isn’t best practice and isn’t in the interests of the animals.”
Ben Pearson, World Animal Protection Senior Campaign Manager
“We have previously written to Dreamworld asking them to help us with our ‘Wildlife. Not Entertainers’ campaign,” Pearson added. “We want them to stop selling selfies and tiger experiences and promote viewing tigers behaving more naturally.”
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