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Sedated tigress causes shock at glitzy grand opening of major new Russian casino

By Anna Liesowska
13 November 2015

Tigre de Cristal under fire for 'abusing' rare big cat to promote gambling revolution.

The parading of endangered female Siberian tiger cub - named Crystal - has provoked a storm of protest. Picture: Alexander Khitrov

The new casino complex is a major development in boosting the economy of the Russian Far East - as highlighted in our earlier reports. Vice governor of Primorsky region Sergey Nekhaev called it a 'unique resort' in proximity to Vladivostok, and the hope is it will tap into the Asian gambling market, with more casino complexes due to open in this new zone. 

But local media attention this week was on the wild animal mascot paraded while being under sedation at a ceremony that followed last month's 'soft' opening. The parading of endangered female Siberian tiger cub - named Crystal - has provoked a storm of protest.

Grand Opeining


Grand Opeining

Vice governor of Primorsky region Sergey Nekhaev called it a 'unique resort' in proximity to Vladivostok, and the hope is it will tap into the Asian gambling market. Pictures: Alexandra Konkova, Alexander Khitrov

One claim was that the drugged five-month old predator, her eyes drooping as she was paraded in front of revellers, was 'tortured'. Another accused organisers of 'mocking' animals. One complained: 'What a shame - all in pursuit of cheap glamour. This poor kitten! When we will have organisations that sort out the issues such as animal abuse.' 

Vostokmedia concluded the casino management had miscued because people in Primorsky region are devoted to protecting the Siberian - or Amur - tiger species, with only 500 or so creatures alive in the wild. 'It is unlikely that locals understand when a live tiger cub was carried and put under the limelight with loud music to the delight of the crowd,' said the media outlet. 'The result that the casino will receive a reputational loss rather than pluses.'

There was a hostile response on online community 'We are from Vladivostok', with Irina Butkovskaya saying it was 'very frustrating' that the casino  'began with a crime - animal abuse.'

Tigress Crystal


Tigress Crystal

Zoo director Ekaterina Zotova: 'For us, this animal is very valuable, and we would not let do anything bad to her.' Picture: Alexander Khitrov, Ekaterina Zotova

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.'

The head of the Laboratory Centre for Animal Disease, Irina Korotkova, confirmed: 'The animal was artificially sent to sleep with medication. In such cases its eyes are not closed. These drugs have a sedative effect, some have even analgesic effect, but this state is similar to sleep. The eyes are not closed.'

The tiger was bought for 450,000 roubles - some $6,800 - and then transported 7,800 kilometres from Ufa Zoo to Vladivostok. 

Sergei Aramilev, of the Amur Tiger Centre, demanded to know what sedative the tiger was given.'There are cases when pet owners give a sleeping pills to the animals. We need to understand exactly in each case, to learn from veterinarians, what was the medicine and what might be the consequences, is it harmful to the animal, is it addictive. In terms of moral and ethical aspects, it is not good.'

The animal is being housed at a private zoo near Ussuriysk, but will be on call for other zoo events.

Grand Opening


Grand Opening


Grand Opening

'It is unlikely that locals understand when a live tiger cub was carried and put under the limelight with loud music to the delight of the crowd.' Picture: Alexander Khitrov, Alexandra Konkova, VL.ru

Zoo director Ekaterina Zotova explained: 'Before the show we gave her a sedative. Any vet gives such medication to cat or dog during the transportation. They are absolutely harmless and necessary to the animal, for example, to prevent sickness or aggression from the loud music. Predators have different reactions on such things. What's more, we know that Crystal arrived in Primorye only three days ago. After sedation, the tigress dropped her lower eyelids. It lasted for only 10-15 minutes.'

She denied any cruelty in parading the tigress at the casino grand opening. 'For us, this animal is very valuable, and we would not let do anything bad to her,' she said. 'She was in the casino just for an hour and we immediately brought her back. She is in her enclosure now, meowing, and playing since the early morning. She has a good appetite.'

Police are investigating the medication given to the tigress to induce drowsiness after local media highlighted how the wild animal mascot was paraded while being under sedation at a ceremony that followed last month's 'soft' opening. There has been a storm of protest over the casino's use of a cosatose Siberian tiger cub - named Crystal.

Comments (130)

Just because you are rich and not educated people at all , does not give you the right to treat these animals in such horrible way. Not many years left until these animals will be extint . Becsuse of people like you .
Elizabeth , PORTUGAL
30/10/2016 14:39
1
0
why not train her to go back to the wild as the cinderella tiger who now has cubs
dana, usa
13/10/2016 01:59
0
0
I love tigre and all animals!!!
Verónica Alvarado, Chil
14/09/2016 21:27
0
0
Stop this animal cruelty. Poor cub. Release Crystal, inmediately.
Cruz stgo, Puerto Rico
26/06/2016 12:16
1
0
It's the usual story when it comes to tigers. They are used to “entertain” rich morons with too much time on their hands and not an ethical bone in their bodies. Everyone involved in this, especially the zoo hiring her out, should be ashamed. Disgusting.
Christine Jones, Perth, Western Australia
05/06/2016 02:16
4
0
THIS IS TERRIBLE ABUSE AND SHOULD BE STOPPED IMMEDIATELY AND ALL INVOLVED PUT IN PRISON. I WILL NEVER - EVER VISIT THIS COUNTRY SOLELY FOR THIS REASON. SO A TOUREST ATTRACTIO - IT IS NOT.
Jill Hammer, Bokeelia Florida 33922
30/05/2016 20:16
3
1
This is why Russia is still the most acceptable bad country in any movie. You are still unacceptable.
Melanie Delfino,
29/05/2016 12:03
0
0
What a disgrace to have a wild animal sedated and paraded around for the opening of a casino. Who in their right ind would do such a thing? This animal DOES NOT belong in captivity much less handled by degenerate drunks and gamblers.
Caterina, Boston MA USA
22/03/2016 02:53
1
0
What an abysmal disgrace,it tears the heart out of one to see that poor beautiful animal abused so badly. IT HAS TO STOP boycott Tigre de Cristal immediately,what is PETA doing? Someone out there PLEASE COME TO THE RESCUE OF THAT POOR POOR TORTURED AND ABUSED ANIMAL.

Antonia Symes
UK- London
Antonia Symes, United Kingdom London
22/03/2016 00:50
1
0
This is an outdated little side show using an innocent animal to make a cheap impression on people who have come to gamble and don't really care to see a SEDATED animal in an unatural condition. It is barbaric an uncivilised and should be stopped imediately!! Send this poor baby to a suitable safe santuary and let it have a better fate this is very cruel what you are doing!!!
Angela Silelidis, Greece
21/03/2016 12:00
1
0
This poor young Tiger. . . . . . still needs its Mother, and the Mother still needs her baby. It is cruel and SELFISH to take babies away from their mothers at such young ages. Wild animals are exactly that - WILD. They belong in the wild in their own natural habitats. Wild animals should NEVER be forced into submissive behavior that is unnatural to them. This is morally and ethically WRONG. Leave animals alone to grow up with their mothers - it is extremely important to them, both physically and psychologically.
Cindy Milano, Stamford, Connecticut, USA
21/03/2016 07:11
2
0
A Siberian Tiger Cub stays with it's Mother until 2-3 years of age. At 3 mths old they venture from the Den & start to learn to hunt by Mom, then around 18 months they are able to Hunt on their own. BUT their Hormones for a mate at 2-3 years makes them go SOLO....Hopefully allowing another generation to go full circle so we can avoid the distinction of GOD's CREATION. To those whom deprive his Beloved Creatures of the life he made them for...will have to answer to him eventually! BUT it is Obvious....the INHUMANE, CRUEL of Mankind will "GO to HELL"!
ROSEMARIE ZIDNER, CANADA
08/02/2016 03:11
2
0
I don't have the words. This is so cruel! I can only hope that this business will be as endangered as the poor animal they are torturing.
Ellen Griffiths, Adelaide, Australia
19/01/2016 16:31
2
0
Please stop the cruelty to these animals.
Debbie Harris, Roanoke, Virginia USA
19/01/2016 10:38
1
0
please sign: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/de-de/528/124/631/remove-endangered-tiger-cub-%22crystal%22-from-tigre-de-cristal-entertainment-immediately/
Ursula Sand, Zurich Switzerland
18/01/2016 22:48
2
0

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