A new casino is Russia’s far east has taken a tiger cub captive to use as its mascot in order to drive more visitors to the glitzy gambling establishment. In its opening night, the cub named “Crystal” was sedated and paraded around the busy casino. For the rest of her days, she will live at a nearby zoo while being “on call” for events at the casino.

According to The Siberian Times, the tiger cub was bought for $6,800 – and then transported more than 4,700 miles to the casino. A casino source told PrimaMedia: “For security purposes, so Crystal would not bite anybody, she was given a sedative. The tigress still is small, so it was impossible to do an injection. The vet came and gave her liquid medicine in a bottle. She slept all the time.”

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Police are now investigating the medication given to the cub after local media highlighted the sedation, in which the drugs kept her eyes open, but her body and mind in medicated state.

Since the opening, there has been a flurry of protests over the casino’s use of the Siberian tiger, including a growing outrage from the online community, “We are from Vladivostok.”  “(It was) very frustrating (that the casino) began with a crime – animal abuse,” Irina Butkovskaya of the group said.

Crystal is being kept in confinement at a nearby zoo when she is not brought in for special events at the casino.

Help Save Endangered Tiger Cub, Crystal, From Russian Casino

What Can You Do?

An online petition, with nearly 200,000 signatures  is now calling for Crystal to be taken out of the casino and zoo and sent to a sanctuary. “This is outrageous and unacceptable and will not be tolerated,” the petition reads. You can sign the petition here. Ultimately, animals do not belong in cages, within concrete walls – and definitely not casinos.

Image source: Alexander Khitrov, Ekaterina Zotova/The Siberian Times