Everyone involved in this drill took their role seriously, especially the dude dressed in a tiger costume.

When conducting safety training, it’s important for everyone involved to treat the simulated situation as though it’s really happening. Sure, the lack of real danger means that such earnestness isn’t required in the moment, but that mindset is the only way by which the proper responses and procedure will become automatic in the event of an actual crisis.

So when Tobu Zoo in the town of Miyashiro, Saitama Prefecture, recently conducted drills in what to do if the zoo’s white tiger were to escape, the staff whose responsibility it would be to contain and capture the animal took their roles very seriously.

And so did the person pretending to be the tiger.

As you can see in the video of the training exercise, which took place on Wednesday, the containment team deployed in full force, with all the manpower and equipment needed to deal with a large jungle predator. The man playing the part of the white tiger was no less committed, even dressing the part in a white hoody, black pants, and, most importantly, a white tiger head covering.

As silly and adorable as his outfit looked, though, the tiger-man was all business, cagily moving around on all fours and staring down members of the containment team. Following the response protocol, the staff can be heard calling out to each other with the tiger’s location (“He’s in front of the lion habitat”) and verbally commanding zoo visitors to leave the area as the team sets up barricades so that the white tiger can’t slip out to other parts of the facility. Once the barriers are set, the team sends in a truck with a staff member whose job is to shoot the tiger with a tranquilizer rifle, and once the tiger is “asleep” (no, they didn’t actually shoot the man in the costume), the team moves in to bind its legs, wrap it in a net, and transport it back to its enclosure.

The containment team’s performance is polished and professional, but Twitter commenters couldn’t help chuckling at how comical the whole thing looked.

“Sorry, I know this is important training, but I can’t stop laughing.”
“I wonder how they choose who’s going to play the tiger? It looks pretty fun.”
“It’s probably surprisingly tough for the tiger actor to do all that without feeling self-conscious.”
“’Oh, we’ve got a TV crew coming? Then I’d better give them my best performance!’”
“I love how the actual lions are looking at him like ‘Dude, seriously?’”
“So surreal.”
“White tiger actor, otsukaresama.”

In another example of how committed Tobu Zoo is to making the scenario realistic, it even had a backstory, with the training exercise designers saying that it would be a simulation of the white tiger escaping its habitat after a large earthquake.

Tobu isn’t the only zoo in Japan that has staff dress up as animals for its safety drills, either. It’s debatable whether or not the costumes actually make the drills more effective, but they do make them more visually interesting and help to serve as a bit of extra PR that visitor safety and the welfare of the animals are priorities for the facility. They also make the drills cuter, and with earnestness and cuteness both being things Japan can’t get enough of, odds are this white tiger costume, or another outfit like it, will be seen again the next time Tobu Zoo is running safety training.

Related: Tobu Zoo
Source: NHK News Web, Twitter/@nhk_news

Top image: Pakutaso (edited by SoraNews24)
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