A Chinese zoo has been slammed for placing a basket with a national flag on the shell of a vulnerable African spurred tortoise for visitors to throw coins into.
The incident caused an online stir when netizen ‘Tea-tia’ posted a photo of the large tortoise in a filthy pit with a money pot and Chinese flag on its shell after visiting Nanning Zoo in the city of Nanning in the southern Chinese province of Guangxi.
‘Tea-tia’ accompanied the photo with the message: “Nanning Zoo has stuck a basket with a Chinese flag on a tortoise to beg for money.”
The African spurred tortoise (Centrochelys sulcata) is categorised as ‘vulnerable’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
According to local media, a zoo worker identified as Ms. Zhao responded angrily to the social media post.
She replied: “We had an orangutan that died and no one cared. Now everyone is condemning us for sticking a basket on a tortoise’s shell!”
PETA Asia press officer Keith Guo told AsiaWire: “Tortoises belong in the wild, they are not a tool for people to make money.
“The zoo should listen to the outcry of the Chinese public and send the tortoise to a sanctuary. As with other animals in zoos in China, UK, US and elsewhere, they are denied everything that’s natural and important to them, and every aspect of their lives is manipulated and controlled.”
Reports said that the zoo has yet to issue a statement addressing the public criticism.
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