Visitors to a theme park on Hainan Island will be offered tiger meat under a proposed breeding plan that has caused outrage. The theme park, to be known as Sanya Love World, says it now has 100 Bengal tigers and 2,000 crocodiles, from Thailand. The animals will go on display next year when the park opens in Sanya city, according to a spokeswoman at Sanya Maitree Concept, a Sino-Thai joint venture behind the project. Many Chinese believe tiger bones have medicinal powers. The spokeswoman said visitors would be able to feed the tigers and take photographs. When the population of tigers grew in a few years, she said visitors might even have the chance to taste their meat in restaurants - one of the many plans being considered. However, a Sanya government official said the sale of tiger meat was out of the question. A report by China Daily yesterday said the tigers and crocodiles cost 73 million yuan (HK$68.4 million). The Nanjing-based Jiangnan Times reported that the Sanya government deployed 55 military trucks and almost 1,000 soldiers to help move the tigers and crocodiles into the park on Wednesday night. The company expects to breed 1,000 tigers in two years. 'The number is only preliminary. Surely more than 1,000 will have been bred after two years,' she said. The tigers and crocodiles are being kept at a breeding centre and some of the crocodiles will be slaughtered for food and medicinal use and for their skin. Sanya Maitree plans to import a further 18,000 crocodiles from Thailand next year. A local government official said: 'We have not heard anything about eating tigers. This is against Chinese law. All we know is that the project is of a commercial nature and the tigers will be sent to a theme park.' The Sanya Maitree spokeswoman said the company was a joint venture between a parent company in Thailand and Sanya Tourism Investment, a state-owned company. The Chinese firm owned 30 per cent of the company and was a business unit under the Hainan government, she said. In Hong Kong, Animals Asia Foundation founder Jill Robinson questioned the legitimacy of the project. 'I have never heard of anything like this before,' Ms Robinson said. '[The consumption of tigers] is completely illegal across the mainland and I am sure that once the Beijing authorities hear about this they will crack down on it. I would seriously doubt they would allow consumption, I think the local authorities are exploiting a loophole somewhere.' Sanya Maitree's general manager, Chi Zengqing, was quoted as saying the killing of tigers for food was unlikely, given animal protection laws.