Kangaroo dies after visitors at Chinese zoo hurl rocks to force her to jump

One kangaroo was killed and another injured at a zoo in southeast China after visitors to their enclosure pelted the animals with 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 the mistreatment of animals at Chinese zoos, several of which have gained notoriety in recent years for cramped and cruel conditions.

Zookeepers at the Fuzhou Zoo in Fujian Province told the Haixia Metropolis News this 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.”

Netizens in China and elsewhere have expressed their horror at the behavior of the stone-hurling visitors.

The Metropolis News said on Friday that 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 had applied for funding to 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. 

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FUZHOU, CHINA - JANUARY 18: The world's oldest giant panda 'Basi' attends its 37th birthday celebration at Strait Panda World on January 18, 2017 in Fuzhou, Fujian Province of China. Male giant panda 'Basi' welcomes it 37th birthday in Fuzhou and becomes the world's oldest giant panda in captivity. (Photo by Zheng Shuai/VCG via Getty Images)
FUZHOU, CHINA - NOVEMBER 28: (CHINA OUT) A feeder feeds birthday cake for Basi during its 35th birthday at Fuzhou Panda World on November 28, 2015 in Fuzhou, Fujian Province of China. Basi celebrated her 35th birthday which roughly equals 130 years in human age. It is currently the oldest living panda so far in the world. Basi visited the U.S. San Diego Zoo for shows in 1987. She attracted around 2.5 million visitors during her six-month stay in the United States and amazed many visitors by her acrobatic performances. In 1990, she was chosen as the prototype for Pan Pan, the mascot for the Beijing Asian Games. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)
FUZHOU, CHINA - NOVEMBER 28: (CHINA OUT) A visitor takes photos of blessing words for giant panda Basi during its 35th birthday at Fuzhou Panda World on November 28, 2015 in Fuzhou, Fujian Province of China. Basi celebrated her 35th birthday which roughly equals 130 years in human age. It is currently the oldest living panda so far in the world. Basi visited the U.S. San Diego Zoo for shows in 1987. She attracted around 2.5 million visitors during her six-month stay in the United States and amazed many visitors by her acrobatic performances. In 1990, she was chosen as the prototype for Pan Pan, the mascot for the Beijing Asian Games. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)
FUZHOU, CHINA - NOVEMBER 28: Panda Basi gestures to the audience coming to her 35th birthday party at the Panda Research Center on November 28, 2015 in Fuzhou, China. Basi celebrated her 35th birthday on Nov. 28, 2015, which roughly equals 130 years in human age. Basi is currently the oldest living panda so far in the world. Basi in 1987 visited the US San Diego Zoo for shows. She attracted around 2.5 million visitors during her six-month stay in the United States and amazed many visitors by her acrobatic performances. In 1990, she was chosen as the prototype for Pan Pan, the mascot for the Beijing Asian Games. PHOTOGRAPH BY Feature China / Barcroft Media UK Office, London. T +44 845 370 2233 W www.barcroftmedia.com USA Office, New York City. T +1 212 796 2458 W www.barcroftusa.com Indian Office, Delhi. T +91 11 4053 2429 W www.barcroftindia.com (Photo credit should read Feature China / Barcroft Media / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
FUZHOU, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 10: (CHINA OUT) Workers show to the public eight Red Panda cubs born this year at Fuzhou Panda World on September 10, 2008 in Fuzhou, Fujian province, China. Of the ten Red Panda (Ailurus fulgens) cubs bred at the research centre this year, including two sets of triplets and one pair of twins, the eight surviving cubs were shown to the public for the first time today. (Photo by Zheng Shuai/VCG via Getty Images)
FUZHOU, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 10: (CHINA OUT) Workers show to the public three Red Panda cubs born this year at Fuzhou Panda World on September 10, 2008 in Fuzhou, Fujian province, China. Of the ten Red Panda (Ailurus fulgens) cubs bred at the research centre this year, including two sets of triplets and one pair of twins, the eight surviving cubs were shown to the public for the first time today. (Photo by Zheng Shuai/VCG via Getty Images)
FUZHOU, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 10: (CHINA OUT) A Red Panda cub born this year at Fuzhou Panda World pushes a toy cart on September 10, 2008 in Fuzhou, Fujian province, China. Of the ten Red Panda (Ailurus fulgens) cubs bred at the research centre this year, including two sets of triplets and one pair of twins, the eight surviving cubs were shown to the public for the first time today. (Photo by Zheng Shuai/VCG via Getty Images)
FUZHOU, CHINA - JULY 28: (CHINA OUT) A giant panda swims in the water at Fuzhou Panda World on July 28, 2009 in Fuzhou of Fujian Province, China. Fuzhou has seen a continuous spell of high temperatures. (Photo by Yang Enuo/VCG via Getty Images)
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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 the closure 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 Post last 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.
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