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A caged tiger that was part of a South Florida high school’s jungle-themed prom is causing an uproar among some social media users.
Video posted on Facebook shows the tiger pacing around the cage in the center of a dance floor, as performers holding torches dance in the surrounding area. Students at Christopher Columbus High School watch the scene unfold, with some recording the controversial show on their phones.
“How shameful for Christopher Columbus High school …showing its students on prom night who is the “king of the jungle,” Mari-Cris Castellanos wrote in the Facebook post. “This poor tiger was used as an EXOTIC amusement for the mindless teenagers who were present, it is not the student[s] fault to be so naive BUT it’s the CCHS STAFF who arranged this event, there for they are responsible for this tigers misery.”
The post went on to speak of animal cruelty and abuse.
“1. DID THIS TIGER ASK TO ATTEND PROM? 2. Why didn’t anyone open the cage and see what would happen to these “brave and courageous fire performers?” 3. WHY DOES CCHS ALLOW SUCH ANIMAL CRUELTY?” the post says.
The prom, held on May 11 at the Double Tree Hilton Miami Airport Convention Center, featured several themed decorations and animals including a lemur, two macaws, an African Fennec Fox and a tiger, according to a statement issued by the school.
In the statement, Christopher Columbus High said the animals were displayed in a “very controlled situation” and were provided by facilities licensed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
“The tiger, which was displayed for a few minutes in a cage was never harmed or in danger, was not forced to perform, was always accompanied by his handlers, and for the great majority of the time was lying down in a relaxed state facing away from the audience,” the statement read.
The school also said two Miami-Dade police officers were present during the duration of the event.