Siberian Tigers in Harbin 哈尔滨. More than just the Ice Festival

With winter arriving, the Harbin Ice festival will begin again.
What can you do during the day before the lights come on?
Visit the Siberian Tiger Park 哈尔滨 东北虎林园

Siberian tigers having lunch in Harbin 东北虎林园
Siberian tigers having lunch in Harbin

Siberian Tigers in the Siberian Tiger Park 东北虎林园

If you get the chance to visit Harbin in Heilongjiang Province this winter (that’s a big if!), remember that during the day light hours before the ice festival is lit up, you can visit the amazing Siberian Tiger Park 东北虎林园 just outside town; best reached by Taxi from central Harbin 哈尔滨. This park has successfully bred more than 1000 of these spectacular cats

Siberian tigers surrounding a bus Harbin 东北虎林园
Siberian tigers surrounding a bus Harbin

Seeing these powerful beasts up so close is quite an extraordinary experience. You’ll be glad you are in a protected bus and just hope that the engine doesn’t stall. The tigers seem well-looked after and especially well-feed. However, that brings us to the controversial part about visitng the park.

Siberian tigers having lunch in Harbin. 东北虎林园
Siberian tigers having lunch in Harbin

Feeding live animals to the tigers

Visitors have the option to buy a variety of live animals to feed to the tigers; an option very popular with domestic tourists who love to see the ravenous tigers pounce on the cow that is made to slide out the back of a truck, the chickens that are hung for the tigers to torn out of people’s hands, and the goats that are just pushed through the wire gates to be mauled and ripped apart in a matter of seconds.

Tigers surrounding a tourist bus in Harbin's siberian tiger park. 东北虎林园
Tigers surrounding a tourist bus in Harbin’s siberian tiger park

The price of the live animal rises according to its size. Chickens are the cheapest and a mature cow the most expensive. Prices are listed at the ticket booth. It is not a spectacle for the squeamish and hyper-sensitive.

Siberian tiger having lunch in Harbin.
东北虎林园
Siberian tigers having lunch in Harbin

While tigers may never be vegetarians, we don’t recommend participating in this type macabre gimmick: It is totally unnecessary. The tigers can easily be feed slaughtered meat and the idea of laughing and getting pleasure from watching another animal meet its end is rather distasteful. This apart, seeing the Siberian tigers in such close proximity is truly memorable.