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Home » , » Girl, 3, walks wire above tigers

Girl, 3, walks wire above tigers

A Chinese zoo has been slammed for letting a three-year-old girl walk a tightrope eight metres above a tiger enclosure.

The little girl walked along the 130 metre long high wire above six hungry Siberian tigers at Changzhou Yancheng Zoo in Jiangsu province.

She was part of a routine which also involved two adult acrobats who crossed the wire using a bicycle and a ladder as props.

But the crowd gasped when three-year-old Zhang Xiaoyan started to walk along the wire, with a thin safety rope attached around her waste.

Witnesses said people screamed when she nearly lost her footing on the first step, as a strong gust of wind nearly blew her off the wire.

The little girl walked along the wire without even a pole, using just her arms for balance, as the tigers prowled below. One even jumped up towards her.

Horrified visitors criticised the zoo for putting on the stunt which they said amounted to child abuse.

"If she was my child, I would never let her do anything like that no matter how talented she is," complained one parent.

A zoo spokesman said they had hired a professional group, the Jiangxi Elite Children Arts Troupe, to put on the routine which met all safety requirements.

Zhang Shenwen, director of Jiangxi Elite Children Arts Troupe, said Xiaoyan was the world's youngest high wire walker, and had been training since she was just one.

"She has very good psychological control," he added, saying she would retire at the age of seven to go to school and eventually planned to go to university.

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