THE odds might be stacked against them, but there is no shortage of volunteers willing to take on a zoo’s unusual challenge - to play tug-of-war with a tiger.

Visitors to Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay, Florida, are being given the chance to play with some of the most world’s most fearsome animals. In each contest, volunteers take a rope in their hands and a tiger tries to pull it from them with its mouth. The challenge is called ‘tiger tug’ and several videos showing volunteers giving it a try have been posted on YouTube. Even children have taken part in the scary contests, which involve tugging at the rope through a hole in the tiger’s cage. One video shows NASCAR motor racing driver Matt Kenseth, who won the Daytona 500 race in 2009, doing his best to hang on to the rope. The challenge has been running for a number of years, but its popularity shows no sign of waning.            –MO

Earlier this week staff at Busch Gardens put an invitation on the zoo’s Facebook page, where more than 1,500 users have clicked to say they like it. The tiger tug is one of the main events staged in the zoo’s Jungala area, where seven Bengal tigers are kept. Other star attractions at the zoo include cheetahs, hyenas, lemurs, meerkats, peacocks and elephants.                                –MO