In response to allegations of animal abuse, a Guizhou safari park has insisted that a staff member was merely "playing with the tiger," after footage which appeared to show the man maltreating the big cat went viral.
Net user "zuiaipangda" reposted a video clip on Sina Weibo Wednesday in which an employee of Guiyang Safari in Xiuwen county, Southwest China's Guizhou Province, was seen abusing a tiger.
The clip, originally posted in December on online platform Pear Video, shows the employee pulling the tiger's ears and tail and sometimes riding on its back. The tiger is seen constantly trying to get away from the young man.
Blood stains were spotted on a rock where the tiger was caged, which added to netizens' speculation that the tiger was being abused.
The post has sparked outrage on social media. Authorities in Xiuwen county are investigating the incident after receiving netizens' tip-offs, and have vowed to mete out severe punishment to animal abusers, reports said.
The park said Thursday that the video was posted by the employee himself and it shows him playing with the tiger. The blood came from chickens used to feed the tiger, not the tiger itself, China News Service reported. The park also said that taking good care of the animals is and will always be its mission.