The Siberian Tiger Park in Changchun, Jilin Province said in a Sunday statement that it terminated its agreement with an on-site animal circus that has been accused of mistreating a tiger cub.
The announcement came after some Web users published posts saying that a large Siberian tiger cub was strapped to a wood table to allow visitors to sit on the animal and take photos during the May Day holiday. The photos posted online show a man standing next to the cub with a whip in his hand.
The posts stirred online anger and criticism of the park, accusing it of animal cruelty.
The park said the cub was not part of the huge pride of tigers it cares for, which include more than 2,000 rare, wild animals, its website says.
The park's statement said the tiger belongs to the Anhui Suzhou City Oriental Animal Troupe, which staged animal performances for visitors, the Xinhua News Agency reported Monday.
Neither the park nor the Xinhua report explained how the troupe came into possession of the cub, or how it is now being cared for.
Along with terminating its contract, the park also fined the troupe 5,000 yuan ($810), Jiao Weiyi, director with Jilin provincial wild animal protecting and breeding center, told Xinhua.
"The troupe now realizes how serious the issue is," Jiao was quoted by Xinhua as saying.
The termination of the agreement was in accordance with the Law on the Protection of Wildlife and in line with city regulations governing zoo management, Jiao said, adding that the troupe had violated its contract.
The park has submitted a report to Forestry Department of Jilin Province saying it will work to avoid similar incidences from occurring, said Jiao.
Siberian tigers are a first-tier protected animal in China and are listed in the appendix of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
Calls by the Global Times to Jiao and the park went unanswered on Monday.