Hangzhou Zoo Visitors Pelt Frightened Lions with Snowballs
Chinese zoo visitors were recently photographed pelting frightened lions with snowballs, sparking global outrage at the cruel behavior.
China Daily reports that the incident occurred at the Hangzhou Zoo on January 5. Photos of the animal cruelty were posted on Sina Weibo, a Chinese social media site similar to Twitter, on the same day.
The photos show numerous zoo visitors pelting a pair of lions, one male and one female, with snowballs as the terrified lions huddle together.
Hangzhou Zoo breeder Zhu Yan said employees were busy clearing snow when the incident happened and so did not witness the abuse.
“Although snowballs can’t hurt large animals like lions, the behavior upset us nonetheless,” Zhu told Xinhua News. “Our animals should be treated fairly. We hope our visitors will use some self-discipline and be nicer to them.”
China recently banned animal circuses and warned zoos that they had to stop selling animals such as chickens, goats, cows and even horses to visitors that they could then feed to big cats. But according to animal rights advocates, abuses persist despite the new laws and warnings.