One kangaroo was killed and another injured at a zoo in southeast China after visitors to their enclosurepelted the animalswith rocks and other objects in an apparent attempt to get the kangaroos to hop around. The abuse has sparked fury online and prompted renewed scrutiny into themistreatment of animalsat Chinese zoos, several of which have gained notoriety in recent years for cramped and cruel conditions.
Zookeepers at the Fuzhou Zoo in Fujian Provincetold the Haixia Metropolis Newsthis week that at least one visitor threw “multiple” sharp-edged rocks at a 12-year-old female kangaroo in March to compel her to jump, leaving her badly injured and in “deep pain.” She died a few days later of profuse internal bleeding, her caretakers said.
A 5-year-old male kangaroo in the same enclosure was reportedly also injured last month after a visitor threw part of a brick at him. The younger kangaroo was not seriously hurt.
“Some adult [visitors] see the kangaroos sleeping and then pick up stones to throw at them,” a Fuzhou Zoo attendant told the Haixia Metropolis News. “Even after we cleared all the stones from the display area, they went elsewhere to find them. It’s abhorrent.”
Pics of the bricks that visitors hurled at kangaroos at the zoo in Fujian, killing one and injuring another. Zoo staff say visitors often throw objects at animals despite it being ‘prohibited’.pic.twitter.com/KwFCIcfRQ9— Bill Birtles (@billbirtles) April 20, 2018
Netizens in China and elsewhere haveexpressed their horrorat the behavior of the stone-hurling visitors.
The Metropolis Newssaid on Fridaythat their social media pages were flooded with readers’ angry comments, with many calling for visitors who mistreat animals to be “blacklisted” from zoos.
The Fuzhou Zoo said it hadapplied for fundingto install high-definition surveillance cameras to better identify perpetrators. They added that now only three kangaroos would be on display to reduce the risks to the animals.
Several Chinese zoos have made headlines in recent years for mistreatment of animals. Last year, visitors were horrified when a live donkey was fed to tigers at a so-called safari park near Shanghai. In 2016, hundreds of thousands of people called for theclosure of Guangzhou’s Grandview Aquarium, dubbed the “saddest zoo in the world,” after photos of the facility’s barren enclosures went viral.
Such incidents have increased concerns in China about the country’s lack of comprehensive animal welfare laws.
Without such legislation, “we can only try to persuade people using common sense and referring to animal welfare laws in Western countries,” Tong Yanfang, an animal welfare advocate,told the South China Morning Postlast year.
“For children and many adults who lack judgment, a wrong perception has been built [in China] that animals are there for the entertainment of humans,” Tong said. “When they see animals perform in a zoo, they won’t consider how the animals acquired those skills.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.