Visitors riding camels tour the Mingshashan scenic spot in Dunhuang, Gansu Province, on October 3. At least two camels reportedly died from overwork during the holiday. Photo: CFP
As the national holiday draws to a close and people return to their homes, animals in zoos, parks, and scenic spots welcome the chance to relax after busy days performing for crowds or bearing tourists from place to place.
Tourist sites, including zoos, were jam-packed with visitors during the eight-day holiday. As of Saturday, the zoo in Shijiazhuang, the capital of Hebei Province, had been visited by over 100,000 people, 15 percent more than the same period last year, Yanzhao Metropolis Daily reported.
However, while the visitors were happy to see the animals, activists were concerned about the demands that were placed on the beasts to perform unnatural acts.
China's animal protection regime is only in its nascent stages, and exhausted, hungry animals often die during the "golden week" from overwork or too much exposure. Animal welfare activists have been calling for tougher animal cruelty laws in the country.
In the Mingshashan desert tourist site in Dunhuang, Gansu Province, at least two camels died in two days due to overwork transporting tourists without proper feed and rest, according to the Beijing Times. The 1,000 camels worked from dawn to dusk carrying 8,000 tourists each day during the holiday.
Other animals were badly treated by callous visitors. On October 4, pictures showing a tourist using a cigarette to burn a monkey in a zoo in Shanghai started circulated on the Internet. The zoo later claimed to the Shanghai-based Xinmin Evening News, implausibly, that it had been done in fun and had not harmed the monkey.
Visitors play tug of war with tigers at a zoo in Wuhan, Hubei Province, on September 30. Photo: CFP
A black bear walks a tightrope at a wild animal zoo in Qingdao, Shandong Province, on October 3. Photo: CFP
Visitors watch miniature horses race at a wild animal zoo in Qingdao, Shandong Province, on October 3. Photo: CFP