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Lions Hit With Snowballs At China’s Hangzhou Zoo [Photos]

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A series of photos showing a pair of lions being pelted with snowballs at a Chinese zoo have caused animal lovers around the globe to voice their outrage via the web.

According to Xinhuanet, the photos — taken at Hangzhou Zoo on January 5 and later posted on China’s microblogging site Sina Weibo — were shared countless times and received thousands of comments criticizing the blatant animal cruelty.

The Hangzhou Weekly reports the incident started after a sole visitor threw the first snowball, inciting others to join. The lion and lioness huddled together, as seen in the photos below, until the attack was over.

The group then moved on to other targets, according to the Weekly:

“When the group either tired of the “fun” and/or exhausted the snow around the enclosure, they moved on to similarly harass the zoo’s tigers, monkeys, giraffes, alpaca and… you get the drift.”

After the photos of the snowball assault surfaced online, they quickly went viral. Not surprisingly, many people were appalled by the senseless act of abuse, calling for greater protection of animals and more “moral education.”

One commenter, from the popular Chinese site Netease, wrote:

“Why didn’t the photographer or zoo keepers stop these tourists? The zoo should provide a room for these animals rather than make them stay in the cold.”

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NetEase user coming42 added:

“With our countrymen’s characters so low, even if we had democracy, what use would it be? Once people’s characters are high, the appropriate system [of government] will form itself naturally. A democracy without education and cultivation to prop it up is only the tyranny of the many over the few. If those who endorse anti-character theory died out, then there might be hope for China.”

When zoo officials were questioned as to why they allowed this kind of behavior, breeder Zhu Yan told Xinhua that zoo workers did not see them throwing snowballs because they were busy clearing snow elsewhere. He later told media sources,

“Although snowballs can’t hurt large animals like lions, the behavior upset us nonetheless,” Zhu said. “Our animals should be treated fairly. We hope our visitors will use some self-discipline and be nicer to them.”

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Readers: What is your take on the Hangzhou Zoo incident? What should happen to the individuals who hit the lions with snowballs? Sound off below.


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19 Responses to “Lions Hit With Snowballs At China’s Hangzhou Zoo [Photos]”

  1. Bill Swenson

    It's very simple, Hey Mr & Mrs Lion how would you like some Chinese food!

  2. Anonymous

    All the ugliness of this act reminds me very much of what some Americans do to animals — hanging them from trees, setting them afire, etc. I see no difference. Cruelty of this type seems to rest mostly among males, for some reason (testosterone, perhaps?).

  3. Michael Albert DeLuco

    How in the world can you see this as something Americans do? Animal abuse occurs everywhere. Hanging animals from trees? Yeah all of us Americans do that right?! And Johnny you are an idiot if you think its because they are a communist country….like abuse doesnt happen in capitolist countries or socialist countries…wtf does politics have to do with animal abuse idiot.

  4. Sam Spencer

    Despicable, reprehensible, what else can be said? There's NO security in a Red Chinese public facility? I bet if someone had been holding an anti-Mao sign there'd been bucket loads of security. What a bunch of asshats.

  5. Sam Spencer

    I agree Michael, there's equating this behavior singularly to "Americans". Kewpeejay60, you are simply missing a few marbles.

  6. Michael Albert DeLuco

    Again… wtf does this have to do with red China.(by the way who the hell calls them that anymore????) Asshats are everywhere,even on the internet making racist ideological comments.You really think this couldnt and wouldnt and doesnt happen anywhere? There are good people in every country and then there are the "asshats"……

  7. Marcia Shiel

    those lions are emaciated? That zoo should be closed and the animals moved to safe sanctuaries The idiots moved on to other animals Those stupid humans should be severely punished As for the ignorant zookeepers, they let the idiots get away and then made excuses The zoo and the snowball wielding idiots should be harshly punished Where is the deterrent from harming animals? china is pathetic.

  8. Michelle Eavey

    @kewpeejay60: Animal abuse is like any type of abuse that occurs, it happens across ALL Countries, ALL nationalities, all income levels, i.e poverty level or the wealthy, All ages, all sexes and all intelligence levels. Your statement was a generalization that was grossly unfair.

  9. Paul G. DeCroix

    They look under fed also. Why are they there anyway? Do lions live where it snows? I thought they live in warm areas?

  10. Linda Park

    Lions belong in the wild in Africa. They do not belong in a zoo in China. Chinese zoos unfortunately have a very bad rep as far as caring for their animals goes and the visitors seem to get away with really dreadful behaviour. Clearly there is no control and there is certainly a huge need for education about respect and compassion – values that are sorely lacking here.

  11. Peter Culpo

    they should all be castrated and then their weeners should be fed to the lions. as for female perpetrators, they should have their breasts removed and fed to the lionesses. they should all say sorry to the lions and watch as they eat all their weeners and titties.

  12. Peter Culpo

    they should all be castrated and then their weeners should be fed to the lions. as for female perpetrators, they should have their breasts removed and fed to the lionesses. they should all say sorry to the lions and watch as they eat all their weeners and titties.

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