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China's young spend 73 hours with tigers

Updated: 2010-02-08 21:28
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XI'AN: Two young men and a woman were testing their courage at a safari park in northwest China's Shaanxi Province through a 73-hour survival test with wild tigers.

Li Hang, Que Xiaotian and Meng Zihui stood out among 667 applicants to win the privilege to test their courage and experience the wilderness, said Ren Feixiang, manager of the Qinling Safari Park which is located in the suburbs of the provincial capital Xi'an.

The survival test which runs from 10 a.m. Sunday to 11 a.m. Wednesday, is aimed at gathering more support for protection and closer study of the wild cats, as well as to celebrate the Chinese year of the tiger, which starts on February 14.

The trio, aged from 24 to 25, are staying in a 10-square-meter cabin made out of a cage which has been placed at the center of the "tiger mountain area", the habitat of 48 wild tigers.

The cabin has no electricity, heating or furniture and is covered only with straw to protect the three from the cold.

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The participates are expected to record with their cameras, computers and pens how wild tigers fight for territory, food and spouses, as well as figuring out what the big cats do during their day and collecting different noises the cats make.

The participants have each brought food, water, a tent, and a moistureproof cushion. Li, a 25-year-old reporter with a Xi'an-based TV station, also brought his guitar to "kill time and hopefully communicate with the tigers," he said.

Management of the park has provided each of the participants with a walkie-talkie and sent zoo workers to patrol the area on a 24-hour basis.

"Tigers are increasingly vulnerable and we should care for them," said 24-year-old Meng, the only woman in the trio and a graduate student with Peking University.

Meng said she rejects all products containing tiger bone, an important ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine.