While zoos are usually intended to give visitors an up-close look at many fascinating animals that would otherwise only be seen in the wild, a recent incident at a zoo in China may be far more revealing of dark aspect our human nature.
Earlier this week at the Rural Grand View Garden in Shenzhen, staffers cleaning the facility's artificial lake discovered that nearly all of the zoo's 11 resident crocodiles were dead. Officials believe that the animals had been pelted to death by rocks and their enclosure contaminated with trash hurled in by zoo guests.
Since crocodiles generally enter into hibernation during the winter, the animals were evidently not animated enough for some zoo-goers. According to a report from The Nanfang, visitors to the zoo had been observed "shouting, spitting and throwing things" at the crocodiles "to make sure they are alive."
Only two crocodiles survived.
Zookeepers say that they are trying to discourage guests from being abusive towards animals, though mistreatment on the part of zoo-goers in China seems to be part of a larger problem. The Huffington Post recently published photos of guests at the Hangzhou Zoo hurling snowballs at lions, reporting that such behavior is not uncommon.
But it's not just guests responsible for recent animal deaths at Chinese zoos. In recent years, zookeepers have been blamed for letting 11 Siberian tigers starve to death at on zoo in Shenyang. A mass grave containing a variety rare and protected big cats was even discovered on the grounds of another facility.
Via The Nanfang