CHINA- The Lehe Ledu Wildlife Zoo in Congqing city has started what we hope is a new trend in wildlife watching. Taking more of a safari approach, the zoo visitors are loaded into large standing cages on the backs of trucks, and then driven through the actual habitat of wild and dangerous predators.
According to Earthables:
‘The experience gives people the chance to get up close to some of the world’s most ferocious animals, who they can even feed by hand, while also providing a sense of what it might be liked to live in a cage – albeit for a much briefer period than zoo animals endure.’
This is no boring tour through a animal’s habitat, though. The zoo officials ensure that the visitors get an up-close and personal experience with a very large animal that would tear them to shreds if not for the thin steel that separates them.
The staff actually ties meat to the outside of the truck so that the animals will get as close to the people as possible. This sort of reversal of animal/human roles is a show of great respect to the wildlife in the park. Instead of locking them away, they are allowed to roam free. In this park it is the people who are caged and put on display, while the animals are given a yummy snack and some exercise.
A zoo spokeswoman, Chan Liang, said this about the groundbreaking idea:
‘We wanted to give our visitors the thrill of being stalked and attacked by the big cats but with, of course, none of the risks.’
‘The guests are warned to keep their fingers and hands inside the cage at all times because a hungry tiger wouldn’t know the difference between them and breakfast.’
A visitor of the zoo, Tao Jen, said that:
‘It’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced before in a zoo,” said visitor Tao Jen. We’re not looking at them, they’re looking at us — and we’re lunch.’