Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Tiger Mom and the Piglets

Sometime in 2006 an e-mail circulated about a female tiger nursing piglets to overcome her depression at the loss of her tiger cubs. 

I remember seeing this in 2007 and later did a search on it only to discover the whole thing was a fake.  The truth was a little depressing.

The tiger mom and the piglets were part of an entertainment feature at the Sriracha Zoo in Thailand.  This zoo is noted for having a tiger breeding program in which cubs are raised to be used in circuses or for sale to other zoos.  As such the cubs are probably taken from their mothers at a very young age and raised by people - or placed with a sow for equal entertainment value, at least for the hours people visit the zoo. 

The zoo went so far as to dress the piglets like tigers, but apparently this was also just for show, as the tiger skins were removed after the zoo closed.

one of the pictures from the circulated e-mail
To say if this is cruel or not is a person's own opinion.  It certainlly is not natural, although there have been some true stories where animals of one species raise young of an other (rarely a dog may raise a kitten, or young squirrels).  Nutritionally one would have to assume both the piglets and the tiger cubs were also fed special formula for their species.  In some cases visitors were allowed to bottle feed the young animals.  The Srirahca Tiger zoo would not be a place I would have on the top of my list to visit. 

It is interesting to note that there are currently more tigers in captivity than in the wild, yet many of the captive tigers are inbred to the point they have health issues, and short lifespans.

Further Reading On Pet Tigers and Zoos

Facts on Pet Tigers

So... You want a Pet Tiger... Other ways of having a Pet

Issues of Zoos


  1. The picture is pretty cool and entertaining. I also have ever seen a mother of one species raise and feed the young of another species. This is nice article. Love reading it. Thanks for posting this to everyone.

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  2. I don't see there is something wrong with this way. The little pigs would get so much help from the female tiger. But if the zoo make it that way incidentally for their own purpose, I would say it is improper.

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