Visiting Harbin and the Siberian Tiger Park

For sure the main reason to go to Harbin is to brave the freezing January winter temperatures and enjoy the word famous ice sculptures, but it’s also worth a day or so outside of the winter period to enjoy the central Daoliqu district’s Russian influence and, in particular, the very unusual Siberian Tiger Park


The Tiger Park itself, like so many things in China, has a good and a bad side.  It’s great that the Chinese are approaching the preservation of tigers, and various other large cats who are threatened in the wild, at such a giant scale.  To give an idea – there are estimated to only be around 500 Siberian Tigers left in the wild, and the park has 800 in captivity.  It’s also great, and should be highlighted more, that the park itself is huge at 250 acres, with many of the tigers free to roam in this area.  The downside though is very predictable – the Chinese pay very little attention to animal welfare, so some of the rarer cats are held in far smaller cages and the tigers are fed live animals in a fairly gruesome show for the tourists


Without straying too far down a moral route here and recommending not visiting, I think it’s worth calling out that any visit to China will be littered with examples whereby you find conflicts between Chinese values and non-Chinese values.  And this is certainly not restricted to animal welfare


My suggestion is that if you are in the area, do make sure you give yourself half a day in Harbin to see the wonderful brick-lined street of Zhongyan Dajie in the Daoliqu district where you can clearly see the Russian influence, the Sun Island Park that sits within the 2 sides of the city, and half a day for the Tiger Park to see the scale of this Chinese experiment

Visiting Dubbo Zoo

If you’re in this part of rural Australia and have a spare morning / afternoon, Dubbo Zoo (Taronga Western Plains Zoo) is worth a visit with its quite extensive grounds and set up to allow you to drive around.  Zoos are never great, but obviously better if the animals have such extensive room to roam