During the Maoist era China was so poor that having a pet was almost unheard of. In more recent decades as the country has got a lot richer ownership of dogs, cats and other pets has grown dramatically. But making headlines recently in Fujian was a somewhat more exotic choice of pet: a nine year-old girl’s tiger cub. According to the Quanzhou Evening Post, Sun Xiaojing, a zookeeper’s daughter, has become a tourist attraction because she walks her tiger on a leash and feeds it with milk. The cub was born three months ago in Quanzhou’s Dongbu Zoo and the father found his daughter enjoyed playing with it and bathing it. He told the newspaper they soon became “firm friends”. She named the cub Huniu, which means ‘tiger girl’, and like many normal pets the cub runs to her whenever she returns from school. The South China Morning Post reports that citizens in Quanzhou have been “flocking” to the zoo to get a sight of Sun and the animal after news about the pair swept across social media. However, some local residents have expressed concern that a tiger is living in their community. “Huniu is a beast after all,” a resident surnamed Lin complained to the Quanzhou Evening Post. “They better put her in a cage.”
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