A new viral video captured at a Siberian tiger enclosure in China's Heilongjiang province is making the rounds online, showing a group of Siberian tigers chasing down a drone and knocking it out of the sky before trying to eat it. Widely shared on social media, the minute and a half long footage shows a drone, operated by a trainer, flying over the felines before one tiger makes an impressive leap to claw it out of the sky.
The rather obese tiger then tries to eat the drone before quickly retreating once the machine begins to smoke. Staff members reportedly retrieved the mangled machine before it caused any harm to the animals.
Video footage from another camera shows a number of tigers stalking and chasing after the flying drones across the snow-covered park.
The viral aerial footage, captured by China Central Television (CCTV), was reportedly taken at the Harbin Siberian Tiger Park, a tiger slaughter farm in northeast China that is said to being operating under the pretence of being an animal rescue centre.
According to Motherboard, the farm is advertised as a tourist attraction, offering buses filled with visitors the unique opportunity to view the tigers and even feed meat and live animals to the felines.
However, the tiger park also reportedly specialises in contraband including tiger bone, pelts, "bone strengthening" tiger bone wine among other products.
Science journalist John R Platt tweeted that the footage was "obviously a tiger farm" where the felines will likely be "turned into bone and wine."
"The tigers killed the drone, but the tigers themselves are still destined for slaughters," Platt wrote.
Similar to other tiger farms of its kind, the number of visitors to Harbin Park does not cover the cost of breeding and feeding its hundreds of tigers every year, McClatchy reports. Instead, the real money comes from the sale of products such as tiger pelts, bone wine and others banned in China.
McClatchy toured the 356-acre farm in 2014 and reported that the animals were found in "deplorable conditions" and that glass cases of bone wine could be seen on display at the park, which included bottles with an image of tigers on them.
"None explicitly were labeled "tiger bone," a sleight of hand that allows the marketing of a banned product in China," the publication reported. "A subsequent phone call to the gift shop was answered by an employee who offered assurance the wine was indeed made from tiger bone."
In 1993, China issued a ban on domestic trade in tiger parts and products. However, around 200 specialist farms, allowed by the government, hold an estimated 6,000 tigers for slaughter to feed the trade, The Guardian reported last year.