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Outrage after tiger forced to roar for tourists at Thai Zoo

BANGKOK A Thai zoo has sparked outrage after a video of staff repeatedly prodding a tiger to elicit roars for tourist photos went viral, renewing criticism of the kingdom's notorious animal tourism industry.

The clip, which has garnered more than one million views since it was posted on Monday, shows the Pattaya zoo attendant jabbing the chained animal in the face with a stick as tourists take turns posing with or sitting on top of the big cat for pictures.

"This tiger gets poked all day, hundreds of times a day so it will roar for the picture with tourists," wrote Mr Edwin Wiek, the founder of Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand, who filmed and posted the video on Facebook.

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A spokesman for the zoo, The Million Years Stone Park and Pattaya Crocodile Farm, told AFP the tiger attendant had been transferred to another job.

Tourist dollars fuel a lucrative but controversial wildlife tourism industry in Thailand, where visitors can ride elephants, hold monkeys and pet tigers for a price.

Animal rights groups have criticised the industry as inhumane, with chained up animals kept in small quarters with inadequate diets or veterinary care. - AFP

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