Everyone loves the cuddly panda, despite the fact that it is one of the world’s dumbest animals. Pandas eat something their digestive systems are not built to handle—they have the GI tract of a carnivore, but eat mostly bamboo—which has only 2% of the daily nutrition they need to survive. They are also one of the few mammals that tends to forget how to reproduce (hint: Tab A goes into Slot B), both in the wild and in captivity.
Now we learn that some rare white tigers are experiencing a similar endumbening.
“Zookeepers in China say their tigers have grown so tame that they’re frightened of the chickens they’re supposed to eat,” Ananova.com reports. “The Chongqing Wild Animal Park has five rare adult white tigers which were originally trained to perform tricks for visitors, reports the Chongqing Morning Post.” Keepers have been throwing them live chickens to encourage the cats to follow their natural instincts, but without success. They’re now forcing the tigers to stay outside 12 hours a day to toughen them up. And they are planning to introduce a wild tiger to show the domesticated big cats the ropes.
— Kesterton, Michael. “Stop loafing, kids, your inner hamster and starry-eyed men.” Globe & Mail, Social Studies, 20 November 2009.
The wild tiger will probably die of embarrassment once it sees what its captive brethren have become. If a carnivore forgets how to be a carnivore, perhaps it’s better for the species if we don’t try to save that particular animal.