MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FL (WPLG/CNN) – A Florida mother is outraged after learning there was a caged tiger at her son’s high school prom, citing concern for both the students and the animal itself.
At a Miami prom themed “Welcome to the Jungle,” several exotic animals, including a lemur, two macaws, an African fennec fox and a tiger were on display.
Cell phone video captured Christopher Columbus High School students watching in awe as the caged tiger rolled into prom Friday night, but not everyone was impressed by the “surprise entertainment.”
"That tiger was in distress. The reason he's pacing up and down, up and down, with his tail going and his ears all folded back, is showing you distress,” said parent Maria Castellanos.
The school issued a written statement after the incident went viral.
"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 laying down in a relaxed state facing away from the audience,” the statement read.
But in video posted online, the tiger can be seen pacing in the cage as performers use fire to entertain the graduating class.
More pictures show different animals also on scene, like birds used as centerpieces.
The school said the animals were provided by a facility that’s licensed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
But despite credentialed handlers, Castellanos says it’s the message that worries her.
"These animals are not entertainment,” she said. "The saddest part of it all is teaching the children that there is no merit to the life of that animal – that that animal doesn't deserve any better.”
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