BEIJING — Visitors to a zoo in southeast China, apparently hoping for a livelier show, pelted kangaroos with rocks, ultimately killing one, injuring another and setting off a wave of public disgust and anger.
The 12-year-old female kangaroo died in a zoo in Fuzhou, the capital of Fujian Province, over a month ago. But the news surfaced only this week, when a local newspaper, The Haixia Metropolis News, described zookeepers’ shock at finding it with a smashed foot, hobbled and listless, after at least one visitor apparently threw stones in an attempt to make it jump.
“Some of us saw visitors throwing stones, and an attendant went out to stop it, but the visitors denied doing it,” a veterinarian at the zoo, who gave only her surname, Chen, told The Paper, a Shanghai-based news website.
A veterinarian cleaned and treated the kangaroo’s injured foot. But a few days later, it died suddenly from profuse internal bleeding. The zoo believes the bleeding was caused by undetected injuries from the stones.
“It showed that it was in deep pain,” the veterinarian said. “But it wasn’t clear where the pain was.”
Even then, the stones kept coming. After that attack, a 5-year-old kangaroo was injured at the same zoo when visitors struck it with rocks, the news reports said.
“Some adults see the kangaroos sleeping and then pick up rocks to throw at them,” one of the Fuzhou zoo attendants said, according to The Haixia Metropolis News. “After we cleared the display area of rocks, they went to find them elsewhere.”
The Fuzhou episodes come at a time of chilly relations between China and Australia and debate over the reach of the Chinese Communist Party in Australian society. There was no suggestion, though, that antipathy toward Australia was in any way involved.
Public fury erupted in 2003 when a university student in Beijing threw sulfuric acid on bears in the city’s main zoo. In 2016, a polar bear kept in a mall in southern China attracted a wave of sympathy for its lonely existence. Staff members at the Fuzhou zoo said visitors had been known to throw rocks at other animals, including ostriches, The Haixia Metropolis News reported.
The news of the kangaroo’s death unleashed a burst of dismay about how animals in China’s zoos