Tiger feat: Big cats leap through the air and plunge into a pool as they try to snatch meat being dangled from a hook
- The incredible footage shows the four big cats wait patiently to take turns
- Little did they know, lunchtime at the zoo appeared to be a training exercise
- When they leaped, meat was pulled from their grasp and they landed in water
Tigers were filmed in a zoo lining up in orderly fashion to take a leap at their lunch which was dangling from a hook over a rock pool.
The incredible footage shows the four big cats wait patiently, taking turns jumping at the meat.
Little did they know, lunchtime appeared to be a training exercise designed to stimulate them.
And when the beasts leaped at the meat it was pulled from their grasp and they landed in the water below.
The incredible footage shows the four big cats wait patiently, taking turns jumping at the meat
Despite criticism online branding the practice cruel, it is believed it helps keep the animal’s natural hunting instincts sharp whilst they are in captivity.
Social media was divided in both delight and criticism.
‘I could literally watch this all day and night!’ wrote one person who was fascinated by the spectacle of seeing the animal’s hunting instincts.
‘Damn they can jump high,’ said another person.
Little did they know, lunchtime appeared to be a training exercise designed to stimulate them
Despite the majority seeming to enjoy the clip, some people thought it was cruel.
One commenter said it was ‘not fun watching animals getting teased by food,’ while another said ‘there are other ways to give them exercise.’
‘You have clearly never played with a cat. If you don’t move it, they get bored,’ said one person defending the training technique.
‘How else are they supposed to have and train their natural instincts because they aren’t wild?’ asked another person.
Indeed most zoos actually do try to stimulate their big cats with a happy medium between hunting and captivity.
When the beasts leaped at the meat it was pulled from their grasp and they landed in the water
Jennifer Zoon, public affairs assistant at Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, told Live Science that they urge their cats to use their ‘natural hunting behaviours’.
She said: ‘We have an enrichment program here that allows our animals to use their natural hunting behaviors without endangering live animals/prey.’
‘For example, our lions and tigers are given boomer balls that they can stalk, chase, and pounce on as if they were prey.
‘Our keepers are also very creative and can create ‘prey’ out of cardboard and other approved materials that our animals may then stalk/hunt.’
A lion sanctuary near Amsterdam in the Netherlands uses techniques similar to those shown in the video to ready big cats for a return to the wild.
‘It’s a system which is meant to train the animals and not only give them back a little of their instinct, but also improve their motor control, their muscles, strength and reactions,’ said Daphne Pels, a keeper at the Stichting Leeuw (Lion Foundation) refuge.
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