Staff at a popular zoo in Guanxi, China, have been accused of animal cruelty and trying to swindle visitors, after it was revealed that they had glued a basket to the carapace of a large tortoise so superstitious people could throw coins in it.
Throwing coins at specific objects, from temple bells and statues to airplane engines before a flight, is believed to bring good luck, but this superstition sometimes crosses certain boundaries. Case in point, this African spurred tortoise at Nanning Zoo, in the provincial capital of Guangxi, that had a straw basket glued to its carapace for people to throw coins into. Photos of the animal crawling around in its enclosure with the basket sticking up went viral on Chinese social media and attracted criticism both from animal lovers and those who saw the gimmick as a way to swindle zoo visitors.
The shocking photos were posted on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, by a user named “Tea-tia” who said they were taken during the National Day holiday. He criticized the zoo for using the animal to swindle money out of visitors, and urged police, the media and the National Forestry Bureau to investigate.
“I don’t know why the zoo would use this method to exhibit precious animals,” Tea-tia said.
A spokesperson for Nanning Zoo told Pear Video that management was investigating the unfortunate incident, but had yet to release a statement.