A female kangaroo recently died from injuries after visitors of Fuzhou Zoo in southeastern China’s Fujian Province threw sharp rocks at her to wake her up.
Chen, an employee at the zoo’s animal rescue center, said the 12-year-old marsupial sustained fatal injuries on April 4 after tourists threw rocks that hit her left foot and ruptured her kidney, according to local media, Global Times
A few days later at that same zoo, a 5-year-old male kangaroo was injured after one visitor threw part of a brick inside the animal’s enclosure and injured his right foot.
Zoo visitors will often throw rocks at the kangaroos when they are sleeping to wake them up or just to make them jump around.
According to the zoo’s kangaroo breeder, Zhang, the animals are usually active from 8-10 a.m., and later from 3-5 p.m., China Daily
After the two incidents, zoo employees removed all projectiles that visitors could throw into the animals’ enclosure to prevent future injuries. Despite this effort, the problem still persists.
“These adults see a kangaroo sleeping and go pick up rocks to hit it with,” Zhang said. “We’ve cleared out all the rocks from the habitat area, and they just go look for them elsewhere, it’s disgusting!”
The zoo also applied to the Fujian government for financial funding to install high-definition surveillance cameras. The current cameras installed throughout the zoo only shows the animals, not the visitors.
The management has also reduced the number of kangaroos in the visiting zone. There are now only three kangaroos in the enclosure for the visitors to see. Additionally, the remains of the female 12-year-old marsupial will be preserved for display.
Other animals in the zoo have also been victimized by rude visitors. Monkeys and black bears suffer digestive issues every holiday season after tourists feed them snacks such as cake, despite signs telling them not to feed the animals.
“People feeding animals with human food, or touching or scaring zoo animals, are often seen in China,” said Sun Quanhui, a chief scientist from World Animal Protection, a non-profit international animal welfare organization. They adding that some visitors are not aware of the potential risks they might pose to both animals and tourists by breaking the rules.