• Sat
  • Aug 23, 2014
  • Updated: 3:13am

Viagra lifts hope for future of rare tigers

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 December, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 December, 2001, 12:00am

Tigers may show plenty of prowess in the jungle, but some are lacking in the sexual arena.


Scientists are afraid an innate lack of sex drive among endangered South China tigers is so severe they have been giving them Viagra and other sexual stimulants to boost their desire to copulate and continue the species.


According to new information released by the Co-ordinating Committee to Protect South China Tigers at its recent annual meeting in Chongqing, only one cub was born in captivity in China this year, bringing the tally to 49, the Beijing Morning Post reported.


With South China tigers already classified as an endangered and protected species, experts say finding ways to boost their numbers is a matter of life or death.


The committee said despite its best efforts over the past six years, there are several reasons why the results have been less than successful.


Apparently the biggest problem has been zoo workers' ignorance of the need to provide the tigers with a private area where they can be alone, instead of on permanent display.


Tigers are also proving to be more selective about choosing a mate then previously assumed, and with 49 tigers living in 10 separate zoos across China, zoo-keepers' match-making efforts have been less than successful.


Although Chongqing Zoo has two South China tigers in its care, experts are afraid they have spent so much time with human trainers that they have lost their natural desire to mate.


Consequently, they are being given Viagra and other libido-boosting drugs to spur them on.


The reports did not mention whether studies were first carried out into the safety of dosing tigers with Viagra, or if the co-ordinating committee was also considering other, more natural methods to coax the animals into reproducing.


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