Zoo Lets People Feed LIVE Animals To Hungry Tigers

A new kind of zoo exhibit is becoming all the rage - and animal lovers don't know whether to be relieved or enraged.

A theme park in China kickstarted the new year with a new exhibit that offers zoo visitors a hands-on experience with animals kept in captivity.

Visitors are locked in a cage and driven through an enclosure where lions and tigers wait for their meals.

"While on the bus ride, tourists can feed meat or live chicken to lions and tigers, or give apples to bears," CCTVNews said on Facebook. "But the tourists were visibly scared and shaken when the animals jumped to grab their meals, coming too close to the bus. Perhaps this ride is not for the faint hearts."

... Wait, back up: "While on the bus ride, tourists can feed meat or live chicken to lions and tigers, or give apples to bears." LIVE chicken?!

The news of the new exhibit sparked all kinds of opinions from commenters on social media.

"Brainless and Stupid Idea," one person wrote. "Moronic People. Is it a good idea to teach wild animals that food comes from trucks with humans in it ??..... Leave Wild Animals Alone."

"What's wrong with the idea? Actually I find it amusing and innovative. Compared to traditional zoos, animals can roam around with more natural space," another person wrote. "And to those people crying foul with animals being fed like that in the news story, think about this: how do wild animals got fed in traditional zoos? No difference, except probably with dead chickens."

This commenter, though, is neglecting one thing: That these wild cats are certainly not roaming in the wild as one would hope. They are part of the theme park, and placed in an enclosure, with roads that the bus can drive through.

This theme park isn't the first to put humans in cages so that they can better view captive animals. Another park in New Zealand has a similar exhibit (though without feeding the animals live chickens ... hopefully.)

When covering the Orana Wildlife Park in September, The Dodo asked the experts what they thought about this kind of reversal of who is in a cage: "This appears to present a positive change away from the traditional arrangement of animals in cages being surrounded by visitors," Chris Draper, programs manager at Born Free Foundation, told The Dodo in September about Orana Wildlife Park's Lion Encounter.

"However, is the lion enclosure any bigger or better than in any other zoo or wildlife park? This set-up might improve the view of the cats for the visitors, but the benefits to the lions are unclear. Does this experience turn visitors into passionate conservationists, or is it just a cheap thrill?"

Looks like a pretty cheap thrill to us.

Also, um, LIVE chickens???