Chinese zoo shut after images of animals in poor condition go viral
Images of lethargic-looking animals in a poor condition inside cramped cages at a Chinese zoo have prompted the authorities to shut it down, Chinese media reported.
The private zoo inside Wanzhou Park in Chonqing has been suspended by the authorities for “rectification” since last Thursday, the Beijing Youth Daily reported.
The zoo is run by just one man, Tan Decai.
“There is only one man here at the zoo, [I am] the director, the ticket seller, the animal feeder,” the paper quoted him as saying.
“Due to the poor business, it’s inevitable that animals are not fed very well,” Tan said.
He added that the animals did not look very spirited because they have been caged for too long.
More than 20 animals live in the zoo, including, monkeys, owls, an ostrich, a snake, a bear, a camel and a lion.
The photographs of the animals captured by the Chonqing Daily newspaper last week went viral on China’s largest microblogging platform, gaining sympathy for both the beasts and Tan.
“This place is a part of my childhood memory. It’s sad to see it becoming like this today,” one comment said.
Tan’s zoo, like many other family-run wildlife parks, was popular until the end of 1980s as it was the only one in the area, the report said.
It costs visitors 10 yuan (US$1.45) to visit the zoo, which is about the size of a standard football pitch.
An official at the Chonqing Bureau of Parks and Woods told the newspaper: “He [Tan] cares about the animals. We are in discussions with him. If he cannot continue to run the zoo anymore we will make sure the animals are safely transferred to official organisations.”
The poor condition of animals in some of China’s zoos and parks is infamous.
A polar bear living in an aquarium at Guanzhou’s Grandview Mall was dubbed the “saddest in the world” by an animal rights group last year.