Winter has been taking its toll on animals unfortunate enough to find themselves in Chinese zoos, though not just because of the weather – reports have emerged of sluggish crocodiles being stoned to death “because they looked fake,” whilst elsewhere delighted visitors have been spotted enjoying the opportunity to pelt the lions with snowballs.
Local media report crocodiles kept at a Guangdong nature park have been repeatedly stoned to death by visitors, who deemed them to be fakes as a result of their winter torpor.
A number of the creatures died after being pelted with rocks, plastic bottles and other rubbish, whilst other visitors use bamboo staves staff used to pick out the rubbish tossed into their enclosure to poke and harass the animals.
Staff warn visitors about such infractions, but complain of visitors who resume pelting the creatures with rubbish as soon as they leave, and also report that at times their enclosures fill up with rubbish faster than it can be removed.
Whether this says more about prevalent attitudes to animals in China or their telling expectation that a park would try to cheat them with fake animals has already been the subject of much debate online – although few could help but feel sorry for the poor crocodiles stuck in the midst of it all.
Possibly a certain amount of scepticism on their part is understandable:
In related news, there has also been concern about Chinese zoo-goers throwing snowballs at the lions: