TIGERS are filmed leaping through the air trying to snatch meat dangling on a hook before plunging into water.
The animals can be seen repeatedly jumping from a ledge at the edge of an artificial rock pool as each time the meat is pulled just out of reach.
The tigers crouch on the edge of an artificial rock pool, ready to pounce[/caption]
But the meat is pulled out the way just before they can reach it[/caption]
The tigers take turns to plunge into the water below[/caption]
It’s believed the activity stimulates the captive tigers’ natural hunting instincts and keeps them healthy.
Social media users enjoyed watching the ferocious 600-lb cats act so playfully after the tourist video – filmed at an unnamed zoo – was posted online.
“I could literally watch this all day and night!” wrote one.
“Dam they can jump high,” said another.
Some expressed concern that the practice was cruel and unnecessary.
One said that it was “not fun watching animals getting teased by food,” while another said “there are other ways to give them exercise.”
But others came to the defence of the animals’ handlers.
“You have clearly never played with a cat. If you don’t move it, they get bored,” said one.
“How else are they supposed to have and train their natural instincts because they aren’t wild?” asked another.
A third added: “I’m sure when their exercise was done they were given it. I’ve done it with my horses.”
Global tiger populations have increased dramatically in recent years after significant efforts to preserve the species.
In 2006, estimates of the population remaining in the wild fell to a low of 1,411, increasing to 1,706 in 2010 and 2,226 in 2014.
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Estimates now put the number in the wild at 3,890.
Populations had been threatened by poaching, receding forest and development projects infringing on their habitat.
Many more tigers are currently in captivity – around 5,000 in the US alone – than in the wild.
Social media users argued about whether the activity was cruel[/caption]
It is thought the exercise maintains the tigers’ hunting instincts[/caption]
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