A zoo has denied claims it is underfeeding its tigers after a visitor claimed to have filmed one eating soil.
Footage appearing to show the rare white Bengal tiger lickings oil in its enclosure at Wuhan Zoo was uploaded to Chinese social media site Weibo.
The video posted on Tuesday was captioned: “[It’s] so skinny it looks like a piece of firewood and so hungry it has to eat mud.”
The man who uploaded the video, named Wang, told Chinese platform Pear Video that he did not see any food in the tiger’s enclosure on closer inspection.
He has condemned the treatment of the animal by the zoo’s staff.
DAVID ATTENBOROUGH: The King of Beasts
But Wuhan Zoo has denied accusations of mistreatment, claiming that the tiger was healthy.
The zoo’s official Weibo account also commented on Wang’s post, stating that the tiger had just been fed a whole chicken before the video was recorded and that the tiger was just eating crumbs on the ground.
The comment added that the tiger was seven years old and weighed approximately 120 kilograms, insisting it was healthy and had a good appetite.
Creepy video shows scuba diver startled by stealthy shark sneaking up behind her
According to WWF’s website, the average weight of an adult bengal tiger is around 550 pounds (249 kilograms).
In a statement to Beijing Youth Daily, a spokesperson for the zoo said: “Because it doesn’t move around a lot, if it eats to much it will become too fat.
Curious seal puts its face between diver’s flippers, poses for snaps and even gives him a high five
“If a person becomes fat, he or she will fall ill. It’s the same for animals.”
White Bengal tigers are extremely rare and their distinctive colour is due to a lack of the pigment pheomelanin.
There is thought to be more than 2,500 Bengal tigers left in the wild.