Child Walks a Tightrope Over Tigers
A three-year-old girl Xiaoyan walks on a 50-meter-long tightrope maintaining a delicate balance.
On the ground waits nine Siberian tigers looking up eagerly. This is a familiar scene at a zoo in China. The girl’s father flaunts her as the world’s youngest tightrope walker. One day the girl loses balance because of high wind and dangles from a cable anchored to the high wire and attached to a harness she was wearing.
British newspaper The Daily Mail reported that when Xiaoyan lost her balance and fell from the tightrope, the spectators screamed in apprehension. One spectator commented, “If she was my child, I would never let her do anything like that, no matter how talented she is.”
When a video clip of this incident made to the web it drew ire of many viewers worldwide. After watching the clip TODAY’s fourth hour co-anchor Hoda Kotb said, “This is torture.” Her co-host Kathie Lee Gifford was less harsh in commenting, “They’ve probably been in the circus business forever. It’s bred into them,” She however added, “I’m not condoning it.”
Both the director of the high-wire troupe and father of the girl claimed to the reporters that they were adhering to all safety regulations. Xiaoyan’s father added that the child had been walking the tightrope since she was one, which made her quite old in the trade. Xiaoyan nonetheless is afraid of tigers, because she knows, “They can bite.”
Daily Mail published another picture showing that ahead of Xiaoyan on the tightrope there were two men on a bike in the same act. One was riding the bike and the other was on a ladder suspended under the bike. In one occasion a tiger leaped up and whacked the bottom of the ladder that a man was hanging on, nearly unsettling him and the biker.
There are no limits to strange and dangerous ways people earn their livelihood for mere survival.