Thursday, April 15, 2010

Zookeepers In China Eat Monkey Meat

Reports of zookeepers eating dead monkey meat, or dining on the carcasses of giraffes have turned the spotlight again on mismanagement of zoos across the country.

The latest scandal involves a soon-to-be-opened zoo in Dongguan, Guangdong Province, where dead animals were reportedly given away as gifts or eaten by zoo workers.

The New Express Daily reported that the environment of the Xiangshi Zoo, which plans to open in July in celebration of the 2010 Dongguan Tourism Culture Festival, is an animal lover's nightmare.

The report said the tigers' enclosure is smelly because their excrement is piled with eggshells. No animal keepers could be seen in some areas.

Some wild animals purchased from other cities cannot get acclimated to the local weather and food. Giraffes, peacocks, monkeys and other animals sent from Beijing died.

"A giraffe transported from Beijing in December 2009 was weak when it arrived. It just lay in the cage and died later," said a zoo employee. "Two monkeys and several peacocks died two weeks ago."

Another employee said several animals that died at the zoo were either eaten by staff members or sent to friends as gifts, believing that wild animal meat has extra nutritional value.

"The workers at the zoo surely cannot eat the whole giraffe. Therefore, some of the giraffe meat is given to others, and we sometimes let tigers eat the meat as well," the employee said.

A director, surnamed Gao, from the Liaobu township tourism development office, told the paper that zoo conditions are primitive. Gao found that roads and green facilities were not completed when he went to inspect the zoo 15 days ago, and he believed the animal deaths resulted from improper feeding.

Full story here.

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