Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What's happening here?

I like this kind of photo. It forces you to think, to ask questions. What the hell is actually happening here? Maybe the police have just cornered a dangerous psychopath disguised as a Disneyland employee. Why are the two guys in blue shirts wielding simple wooden clubs, whereas the police officer appears to be equipped with a high-tech military weapon? Is the "creature" still alive? Is it about to be killed by the policeman taking aim? How come the people wandering around in the background don't seem to be particularly alarmed?

I don't think I could have guessed the true facts before they were revealed to me by the accompanying press article. They're employees of a Chinese zoo, and they're simply practicing an emergency drill involving the escape of one of their tigers. The weapon is designed to fire harmless anesthetic tranquilizer darts, capable of sending a tiger into a nice deep sleep. In the following photos, prior to the final standoff, we see the ferocious make-believe beast bounding across a road and hiding in the bushes, ready to pounce on zoo visitors:

And here's my favorite photo, showing a real tiger watching the show from his glass cage as the fake creature gets carted off on a stretcher, like a dazed rugby man being taken off the playing field:

I can imagine the authentic beast murmuring to itself: "OK, you bunch of silly buggers, one of these days we'll see if events in the real world are likely to turn out just as nicely as that!"

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