Tigre de Cristal, Russia's newest and largest casino, has received a lot of negative criticism for its treatment of a Siberian tiger cub during the grand opening last Wednesday. Some people claimed that the five-month-old female cub, named "Crystal", appeared to be drugged during the opening ceremony.
"Many observers at the grand opening told local Russian media that the cub appeared to have been drugged; carried out onto the stage as if she were asleep, then spending her entire hour in the spotlight staring at the crowd with glassy eyes under drooping eyelids," Calvin Ayre's Peter Amsel wrote about the incident that has upset many animal lovers over the globe.
The Siberian Times reported that "Crystal had been given an oral sedative prior to her public debut so that she wouldn't bite anyone." Zoo director Ekaterina Zotova told the newspaper that the drugs given to Crystal didn't cause her any harm. Zotova added that the casino wouldn't do anything to jeopardise her health.
Crytal was reportedly purchased for 450,000 rubbles ($6,800) from a zoo in the Republic of Bashkortostan. Her new permanent home is at a private zoo not far away from the casino.
There are around 480-540 Siberian Tigers in the Russian Far East, including 100 cubs. Not a big population but a greater number than in 2005 when there were 331-393 in the same region. The population has steadily been increasing since 2005 thanks to intensive conservation efforts.
source: Calvin Ayre, Wikipedia & The Serberian Times