A so-called tiger “sanctuary” in Slovakia has a new visitor attraction – the unlikely (and completely unnatural) friendship between three German shepherds and its Siberian Tigers, all of which have been bred and raised in captivity.
Oasis wildlife sanctuary in Senec, Slovakia runs a captive breeding program to supposedly help save the Siberian tiger. According to the World Wildlife Fund, there are only about 540 left. The dogs, Blacky, Hugo, and Jenny, are said to be BFFs with big cat Suria and newborn tiger cub Sunny. Supposedly the tigers are bred to increase their population, but that seemingly good intent has huge flaws.
This may be a play fight, but in the wild, this can lead to a dangerous encounter.
For one, while it’s totally adorable when cats and dogs are pals, we definitely have to do a double take when we see domesticated dogs being raised with big cats … that should be in the wild.
No reputable sanctuary would breed tigers in captivity, let alone alongside dogs. These sort of forced interactions between humans, tigers, and … well, German Shepherds … makes the tigers get too comfortable around people, therefore, rendering them unfit for release back to the wild. Animals who are raised in captivity around people lose their fear and will learn to rely on humans for food. Unless the tigers being raised in this facility are going back to the wild, they cannot contribute to any sort of real conservation efforts.
Unfortunately, this sanctuary plays off of people’s love for animals and is likely pulling in huge profits by claiming they are concerned with tiger conservation.
How You Can Help
Many organizations that label themselves as “sanctuaries” are nothing more than tourist and profit-driven attractions that use these beautiful animals to make a profit. Whether it be Tiger Temple in Thailand or SeaWorld in the U.S., animals are displayed for entertainment, not conservation. In fact, these facilities have little to no success in captive breeding programs, and the animals they house are never introduced back into the wild.
- Never visit this kind of “scamtuary.” Facilities that raise wild animals in captivity are never reputable and do nothing for animal conservation and often put tourist-driven profits over the needs of the animals they claim to help. To learn more about how to tell the difference between a scamtuary and a real sanctuary, click here.
- If you suspect mistreatment of captive tigers in your area, speak up! Check out our animal rescue hotline for information about who to call and how to get help.