The Shanghai Zoo is once again asking visitors to please, for the love of all that is good and sacred, stop throwing food and garbage into the animals’ enclosures, after three of its fallow deer were found dead as a result of eating trash left behind by people.
The three deer all died within 13 days of each other this month, and the third one was found dead just this past Thursday with a stomach full of trash.
“When we carried out the autopsies we found more than 6 kilograms of foreign matter in each of the deer’s stomachs. They would have been in a lot of pain in their final days,” Shanghai Zoo official Pan Xiuwen told Shanghai Daily.
Pan said that the three deer lived in an open area among three other fallow deer, two emus and an alpaca, and that visitors could easily get close enough to “feed” them with empty yogurt containers and other waste, some of which “inevitably ends up in the animals’ stomachs”.
Anyone who’s called Shanghai home for a period of time has probably witnessed firsthand or at least heard complaints about the city zoo and the depressing conditions in which the animals there live. Staff members at Shanghai Zoo have had to issue appeals to visitors on a number of occasions to stop leaving litter behind. In October, 2013, employees asked tourists to “show some mercy to the animals” after over 70 plastic bottles were thrown into the lions’ den over the national holiday.
A total of 14 mammals (all herbivores) and three birds have died at the zoo since 2006 as a result of ingesting foreign objects, according to staff members.
Of course, the careless treatment of animals at zoos isn’t confined to Shanghai alone. Two years ago, crocodiles at a zoo in Shenzhen were stoned to death by visitors who wanted to “make sure the motionless reptiles were real”, and some asshole kids at Hangzhou’s zoo were photographed pelting lions with snowballs the same month.
Last year, a deer at a wildlife park in Xiamen was found dead after ingesting around four kilograms of plastic packaging left by tourists at the scenic spot, as well.