9-year-old girl takes rare Siberian tiger cub for walk in park
Some visitors to a downtown park in East China were startled by an unusual sight on Thursday – a young girl walking a tiger cub on a leash.
It turned out 9-year-old Xiaojing and her feline friend both have connections to Donghu Park’s zoo in Quanzhou, Fujian Province.
Xiaojing, the daughter of a keeper at Donghu Zoo surnamed Sun, had been caring for the Siberian tiger cub ever since it was born this summer.
Sun said his daughter would sometimes walk the cub in a small area in the park near its habitat where it was being kept temporarily.
Sun explained he had separated the cub from its 9-year-old parents out of safety concerns.
A previous litter of cubs was killed only six days after being born when the mother accidentally crushed them, Sun said.
While some celebrated the cute couple, some on social media objected to the idea of children playing with Siberian tigers and other protected animals as if they were pets.