WATCH: In The War Between Tigers And Drone, Chalk One Up For Tigers : The Two-Way Sure they might be chubby — to put it charitably — but they're still tigers. And when Chinese zookeepers mobilized a drone to get them some exercise, the big cats had little trouble bringing it down.
NPR logo WATCH: In The War Between Tigers And Drone, Chalk One Up For Tigers

WATCH: In The War Between Tigers And Drone, Chalk One Up For Tigers

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Update: Since this story was published, we've become aware of allegations of animal mistreatment and illegal trade in tiger bones and bone wine at the Siberian Tiger Park where drone video of tigers was recorded. You can read more here.


Never underestimate a tiger, no matter how fat.

It's an enduring truth we'd all do well to remember — and one that attendants at a tiger enclosure at the Siberian Tiger Park in China's Heilongjiang province have learned all over again.

They scrambled a flying drone to catch the attention of some of the, let's say, bigger big cats and get them some exercise. Trouble is, the tigers managed to track down the drone and bat it out of the air.

Then, naturally, the Siberian tigers tried to eat it.

Happily, all of it was caught on film, which you can watch above, courtesy of China Central Television. From the dramatic chase to the quadcopter's grim end ... to the quadcopter's revenge from beyond the grave, when it startled the tigers as it started smoking. Eventually, the staff retrieved it from the tigers' big mitts.

As NPR's Bill Chappell reported last year, this isn't the only small victory tigers have recently racked up. In 2016, the World Wildlife Fund announced that for the first time in a century the population of tigers in the wild rose, getting a 20 percent boost in numbers since 2010.

That said, National Geographic notes that Siberian tigers remain endangered, threatened by poaching and loss of habitat.