Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Harbin Part 5: Siberian Tiger Park

Harbin houses the world's largest natural park for wild Siberian tigers. The Siberian tigers, the largest among 10 recognised subspecies of tigers are an endangered animal which almost became extinct due to wanton hunting. This park was established to provide a safe and conducive sanctuary for these animals to live and breed in a natural habitat.
I am not a fan of tigers but I looked forward to visiting this park as I have never seen Siberian tigers before.
The park which was established in 1996 covers an extensive area of 355 acres. To view these tigers we had to hop onto a mini bus with wire mesh windows. I was fortunate enough to sit beside the driver so I got an unobstructed full view of these majestic animals.
For safety reasons the various sections of the park are securely enclosed by tall wire mesh fencing.
We were driven through section after section in search of the roaming tigers.
We spotted about 100 that day even though there are close to 800 in the park.
The Siberian tigers are really huge.
And they look majestic indeed.
We also spotted a number of lions.
The tour lasted about half an hour after which the bus stopped for us to walk to the exit. Along the exit path, we saw a lot more tigers but these are caged in smaller enclosures, probably to be fed, to mate or to breed.
There were also a number of white tigers.
It costs a lot to feed all these tigers but the mission to increase the population of Siberian tigers and to prevent them from becoming extinct has been accomplished.

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