Staff at Dartmoor Zoo in Devon have resorted to running around with pink blankets over them in the hope of coaxing a tiger into its cage, so a pond can be dug in its enclosure.
Royal Marines volunteered to dig Vladamir, a Siberian tiger, a new pond where he can cool down.
But the smart big cat has twigged that something is amiss and has refused to go in to his cage in a stand off.
Zoo staff tried everything to get him out, including offering meat and throwing large balls, to no avail, so staff have been running alongside Vlad's enclosure under pink blankets to coax him out.
Zoo owner Ben Mee said: "I can't believe it, he is normally as good as gold, but he has seen something is up.
"He is attention seeking now; the men are brave and able bodied but they are not going to do it [dig the pond] whilst a tiger is in the enclosure."
The Royal Marines are helping with other digging work around the zoo until they can gain safe entry into the tiger's den.