Cynical Drugging of Baby Siberian Tiger to Promote a New Casino in Russia

A new casino has recently opened in Vladivostok, Russia (in the Primorye Entertainment Zone – part of a £330 million development to satisfy Chinese gamblers). This city straddles the habitat of the endangered Siberian tiger. It is said that Russia has gone to great lengths to protect the world’s biggest tiger in their country. And yet, some stupid businessman who wanted to promote a new casino decided to heavily sedate a beautiful Siberian tiger cub to then haul that doped up animal around the casino to add some bling to the opening event.

Unfortunately, this beautiful animal was so heavily sedated that her inner eye (nictitating membrane) failed to work properly so that it covered the cat’s eye which clearly told everybody that the cat was drugged up. You can see it in the photo below. It looks strange and inner eyelid is red. Perhaps it is inflamed.

Drugged Siberian tiger cub
Drugged Siberian tiger cub Crystal showing her malfunctioning nictitating membrane
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

It is ironic that on the one hand the authorities want to preserve and conserve a beautiful but rare wild animal while at the same time exploit the said species in this cynical and immoral way.

Hauled around the casino
Hauled around the casino

The casino owners admitted that they had drugged the tiger by adding a sedative to the tiger’s feeding bottle. They say it is perfectly normal. We don’t know what drug was used. Is it safe? Sedating wild cats is potentially dangerous for the animal as getting the dosage correct is critical. There have been examples of cougars in America being inadvertently killed when being sedated. The casino purchased the young cub who they’ve named “Crystal” (after the Casino which is called Tigre de Cristal) for $6,800 from a zoo some 4,500 miles away.

Clearly they removed the cub from her mother and she now lives in a private zoo near to the casino to be available for future themed parties at the facility. In other words, this cub is going to be drugged up again and abused again for the indefinite future until I presume she becomes too large to handle safely.

It appears, and I’m pleased to report, that the stunt was not received kindly by local Russians who were in fact appalled by what they saw particularly so because Russians are aware that this species of tiger is, as mentioned, highly endangered.

Business will always tend to prioritise business over ethics and this is one example. I would have thought too that it is an example of animal abuse under animal welfare laws in Russia but there are no reports of anybody being prosecuted which is unsurprising.

Roadside baby Tiger photographic sessions in America are successful because the tigers are also sometimes drugged up in the same manner, we are told. Tigers are abused all over the world in one form or another. The worst kind of abuse is the poaching of the wild tiger to be killed and eaten by Asians who think it improves their sex life!

My thanks to Sandy for finding the story on Dodo.

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