Nine turtles have been found starved to death and shrivelled up inside an abandoned ‘claw crane’ arcade machine in a shopping centre.
The incident took place in the city of Wuhan in the eastern Chinese province of Hubei after the machine’s owner failed to show up after several weeks because the turtle-themed claw crane did not make enough money.
Local resident Ms. Hu first spotted the abandoned machine when she was walking around a shopping centre and noticed that it was different to the other six claw machines, filled with flashing lights and soft toys.
She approached the unplugged machine and saw nine dead, shrivelled turtles inside.
Hu told local media: “I have kept a turtle as a pet for three years, I am very familiar with these animals. There was a turtle with sunken eyes, obviously it had been dead for a long time.”
She said that she wanted to rescue the turtles’ bodies, but the machine was unplugged.
He said: “Using 10 RMB (1 GBP) to catch a turtle is so cruel. There was no water, no food inside.”
The owner of the claw crane told local media: “Turtles need fresh water every day, but the machine doesn’t make money for me. I haven’t been there for two weeks. I will move the turtle claw machine away and clean those dead turtles.”
A PETA Asia spokesperson said: “Living animals sold in claw machines are easily hurt by being repeatedly dropped, and even die painful deaths without food and water.
“We hope the shopping centre will consider banning living animal claw machines in the future.”