Harbin in north China

Jan 14th, 2004, 07:31 PM
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Join Date: May 2003
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Harbin in north China

Living in Shanghai at moment and just had weekend in Harbin. Wanted to see what others thought of it, but seems no-one has posted this trip. It is well known here for ice and snow carvings at this time of year. The city is quite pretty now with lots of blocks of ice used as street decoration, with coloured lighting inside, as well as the parks where larger creations are placed. The snow carvings were awesome, but the highlight of the trip was going to the Siberian tiger safari park which I hadn't really noticed on the itinerary. Such huge, magnificent animals and although it does sound quite horrid, the group paid to have live chickens and ducks released from a vehicle right in front of our bus, it made for some great photos. Apparently you can also buy a live cow to be released. Couldn't imagine watching such a spectacle, but it does happen. Certainly that sort of thing is not for everyone. Temperatures were between -12 and - 24 C.
Fenno is offline  
Jan 15th, 2004, 02:42 AM
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Where I live (the northeast US) feels like Harbin today. Brrrrrr, so I did'nt need to read a post about ice. However, the tiger safari sounds interesting. I even searched online to see what a Siberian tiger looked like. Beautiful.
Although some might find the feeding part distasteful. I think Id rather see a tiger being fed a live cow then a vegas showgirl.
Bring us more travelogues on your life in China. Must be amazing.
artisland is offline  
Jan 15th, 2004, 05:52 AM
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Hi artisland, yes I saw on the Aussie news that you are having even colder temperatures than I experienced in Harbin. You poor things. I managed to cope for a weekend, but couldn't imagine it for days on end. Haven't been in Shanghai for long, just a few short months, and hope to do a lot of travelling. I'm not that adventurous, like those folks I read about on Peter N-H's newsletter, but plan to see as much as possible. Cheers, and hope you keep warm!
Fenno is offline  
Jan 15th, 2004, 07:34 AM
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Good to know you enjoyed the tiger safari. How many tigers are living there? How is the "returning the tigers to the wild" program going?

I don't think it is a good practice to allow tourists to feed the animals. It would make the tigers rely on human for food and that doesn't help the efforts to eventually restore the tiger population in the wild - they have to learn how to hunt to survive.

I went to see the Komodo dragons in Indonesia last November. The Komodo national park used to feed live goat to the dragons to attract tourists but later on stopped doing that altogether, partially because some tourists protested the gruesome scene and partially, and more importantly, because the park realized that it was not good to the dragons. Dragons have a life-span of 50 years in the wild but only 25 years in capativity. No one knows why. Human feeding might actually be one of contributing factors.

I've heard about this tiger safari and I'll definitely go take a look next time I am in China. Thanks for posting.
kang is offline  
Jan 15th, 2004, 10:41 AM
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I've also visited Harbin in late December/early January when they had the ice carvings, but this was years ago. The highlight of my trip was going horseback riding on the frozen river. I think it was about -20C when I was there and it took me a full day to acclimate before I could even venture outside for any length of time!
Patty is offline  
Jan 16th, 2004, 01:35 AM
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For kang: I don't think they are trying to return them to the wild actually. Well it wasn't mentioned and probably wouldn't be a good idea as they would be hunted. It was said there were around 300 but that we would be seeing around 100. They are in separate paddocks according to age and there is no way they would be learning how to survive in the wild as the paddocks aren't that large. They didn't say where the other 200 were, so perhaps there is something going on. Have you read something on it? I must also say that it seems to be politically correct to wear furs up there, saw them everywhere,quite shocked.
Another thing was that on our first night there, they wanted us to try their food specialites - included deer nose and bear paw. I couldn't touch any of those dishes and was thankful that there were enough other dishes to satisfy. I do feel sorry for the husbands who work here, as oftentimes they have to eat such "delicacies" so as not to offend. The Chinese businessmen want to give the best of the best, in their opinion, so it really is almost impossible to say no. I just hope I am not put in that position at any time; was one of my dreads before coming here to live!
Fenno is offline  
Jan 16th, 2004, 06:24 AM
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When the tiger farm(I think that is probably how they call it) first established, there were some reports regarding certain goals they set to work towards. One of the most ambitious was the "wildness survival training program" to return the tigers someday to the wild. I hope they still at least have such program. Even though it will certainly be difficult.

As a Chinese myself, I have to say I am truly ashamed of the part of Chinese culture about the senseless way they eat/use animals: shark fins, bear paws, tiger bones,... There are huge market in most of Asia for such things. Japanese is even worse for that matter.

Thanks for reply.
kang is offline  
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