Dreamworld explains why tiger was slapped

Thursday, 09 November 2017, 08:45:38 AM. TWO tiger handlers have been slammed on social media after a Dreamworld attendee filmed them dragging a tiger by its tail and slapping it over the head.

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Two Dreamworld workers appear to hit a tiger.

TWO tiger handlers have been slammed on social media after a Dreamworld attendee filmed them dragging a tiger by its tail and slapping it over the head.

The video, posted by Instagram user Xy Latu, features the handlers in the enclosure with two tigers.

One of them drags the tiger down a grass hill by its tail before the other man hits it on the head twice.

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A Dreamworld worker slaps the tiger. Source: Instagram

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Dragging it by its tail. Source: Instagram

The Instagram video has already received a number of angry comments with one user writing: “That’s so far beyond disgusting and I hope there’s justice for their actions.”

In a statement to news.com.au, Dreamworld’s General Manager for Life Sciences, Al Mucci said “the care and welfare” of their tigers and all their wildlife family is “paramount”.

Mr Mucci said that what the handlers did was necessary in order to distract the male tiger from attacking the female he was sitting next to.

The 13-second video also failed to feature the handlers explaining what they were doing.

“The handler’s actions to refocus Akasha were explained to guests immediately after the tigers were separated. The tigers in this video were showing antagonistic behaviour and needed separating before they had an opportunity to hurt each other.

“Open hand taps to the facial area is the safest way to refocus tigers who are challenging each other and this is consistent with the way in which tigers communicate with each other in similar situations. The tiger’s tail is one of its strongest parts of the body. Tigers and handlers routinely play with the tail.

“Akasha and Kai are both 100+kg animals and the intervention of our handlers prevented a situation that may have escalated,” he said.

Dreamworld’s Tiger Island received a multimillion-dollar makeover late last year and has become one of the biggest drawcards of the theme park.

The animal refuge has 10 tigers living there and is home to the charity Dreamworld Wildlife Foundation, which has received international attention for its work with saving the endangered animal. It is also one of the largest financial contributors to wild tiger conservation initiatives.

The video comes less than a day after Simon Kelly, the CEO of Dreamworld’s parent company Ardent Leisure, resigned.

Mr Kelly was appointed chief executive in April, 2017 after Deborah Thomas stepped down in a surprise move, six months on from an accident in October 2016 that claimed four lives at Ardent’s Dreamworld theme park on the Gold Coast.

“The board of directors is disappointed with Simon’s resignation and would like to thank him for his contribution to the group and wish him well in the future,” Dr Gary Weiss, the company’s chairman, said in a statement on Wednesday.

Ardent has struggled since the accident on the Thunder River Rapids ride at Dreamworld on October 25, 2016.

The impact of the accident, and the subsequent closure for 45 days of Dreamworld and the adjoining WhiteWater World negatively affected attendance and revenues at the theme parks, and Ardent’s share price.

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Simon Kelly resigned after less than six months in the job. Picture: Renee Nowytager Source: News Corp Australia

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