Pattaya zoo transfers tiger-prodding staffer

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The Million Years Stone Park and Pattaya Crocodile Farm has transferred a staff member caught on video repeatedly poking a tiger to make it pose for photos. (Photo by Edwin Wiek, the founder of Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand)
The Million Years Stone Park and Pattaya Crocodile Farm has transferred a staff member caught on video repeatedly poking a tiger to make it pose for photos. (Photo by Edwin Wiek, the founder of Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand)

PATTAYA – The Million Years Stone Park and Pattaya Crocodile Farm has transferred a staff member caught on video repeatedly poking a tiger to make it pose for photos.

The Pattaya tourist attraction became headline news around the world after Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand founder Edwin Wiek posted the video he shot online, along with sharp criticism.

“Today witnessed the ugliness of tourism and wildlife in Pattaya; this tiger gets poked all day, hundreds of times a day so it will roar for the picture with tourists. Time for a change of laws!” he wrote on Facebook Dec. 18.

A spokesman for the zoo told Thai and international media later that the four Burmese tiger attendants were to blame for the cruelty, saying they prodded tigers in order to make better photos for tourists in hopes of getting big tips.

The spokesman said the zoo’s owner “loves animals” and would not tolerate abuse.

However, the staffer caught on video was simply transferred to another job at the zoo, not fired as activists wanted.

Wiek later called for the end of all photo-taking with wild animals, saying it also poses a risk to tourists, as many are bitten or mauled each year. In addition, many animals are drugged heavily to make them docile enough to pose for a selfie.