The Qinling Wild Animal Safari in the Xi’an, Shaanxi province of China, recently held a unique promotion, recruiting three people to spend 72-hours living inside a small cabin located at the center of a tiger enclosure. The recruits were tasked with observing the behavior of the 48 big cats that prowled the grounds just outside the thin walls of the cabin, recording their interactions 24-hours per day.
Officials from the safari park say they received more than 650 applicants from brave souls looking to spend the night in the tiger pen. They ended up selecting three students, ages 24 and 25, who were given laptops, digital cameras and notebooks to record their observations, and this past Sunday, they were locked into the small, ten square-meter cabin to begin the process. Sunday also just happened to be the start of the Chinese New Year, marking the beginning of the “Year of the Tiger”
For it’s part, the cabin wasn’t exactly luxury accommodations. It had no electricity or heat, and contained no furniture what so ever. It was packed with straw to help keep the students warm however, and it allowed them to get up close and personal in making their round-the-clock observations of the cats, without disturbing their natural patterns. In a sense, it served as a duck blind for the three days they were in the enclosure.
The students managed to survive their stay inside the cage, and were let out on Wednesday. Their observations will now be used as part of a larger study on the behavior of tigers in an attempt to better understand how they live in the wild. Some experts think that there may be as few as 50 tigers still left in the wild in China, and during the Year of the Tiger, they hope to raise awareness of that fact.