Is the tiger, hyena, zebra etc animated? They look quite real. Are they trained animals?

3 Answers 3


The film won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects largely because that tiger looked so real. Special effects supervisor Bill Westenhofer wrote in an interview for Digital Trends

“We used [real tigers] for single shots, where it was just the tiger in the frame, and they’re doing something that didn’t have to be all that specific in the action that we were after,” Westenhofer told The New York Times. “By doing that, it set our bar high for CGI. We couldn’t cheat at all. It pushed the artists to go and deliver something that’s never been done before, something as photo-real as anyone has ever done with an animal.”


The answer is that both real animals and Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) were used. Clearly in situations which will put an animal or an actor in danger, they will use CGI.

See this article.

  • What is the full form of CGI?
    – Myshkin
    Commented May 31, 2013 at 17:40
  • 1
    @TaxiDriver - added it to the answer
    – iandotkelly
    Commented May 31, 2013 at 17:47

the answer is that the real tiger was almost killed, shooting the water scenes. The "no animals were harmed in the making of this picture" stamp is a scam, AHA is not only ignoring the crime but helping cover it up.

*and the original email: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/feature/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/LifeofPi-email.pdf

  • After reading the article, email, and several other linked articles, I am not convinced about the authenticity of this allegation nor the credibility of the email which is lacking quite a bit of information (signatures, headers, "RE:" but no original email being replied to, etc).
    – user9311
    Commented Nov 15, 2015 at 21:39

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