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January 22, 2011

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Wildlife park provides a 'live feeding service'

SHANGHAI Wildlife Park is offering a "live feeding service" to attract more visitors and increase revenue although education experts said such barbaric scenes may be harmful to children.

Visitors can purchase a chicken for 60 yuan (US$8.50) and take a modified bus to feed them to carnivores.

The "feeding buses" allow visitors to place a chicken in an iron tube. It falls to the ground and is promptly attacked and eaten by either bears, tigers or lions while visitors watch from the safety of the bus, the park says.

A Shanghai Daily reporter witnessed a chicken being fed to two black bears. The bears tore the chicken into two parts within seconds. Some visitors on the bus screamed. Others cheered.

"If the animals are always eating prepared food, carnivores will lose their ability or desire to hunt," said Pan Weihua, the park's corporate planning manager. "We hope visitors can experience this opportunity to observe the true nature of animals."

Education experts, however, said these performances can harm children because they may not understand how animals live in the wild.

"Such a bloody scene will leave a shadow on children," said Sang Biao, a psychology professor at East China Normal University.

Pan said parents can choose whether or not to allow their children to watch the "live feeding show."

In 2005, Shanghai Wildlife Park signed a convention, along with 24 zoos in the country, stating it will not feed live animals to carnivores in front of visitors. However, the convention only covers big livestock, not small animals such as chickens or rabbits.


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