Dozens of stray cats froze to death or have gone missing at Beijing Zoo this weekend since the zoo removed all the cat shelters it built a month ago.
"We found some shelters had been dismantled or had disappeared every day since late November. There are only eight left now, but they're all broken," a volunteer surnamed Suo, who feeds the stray cats, told the Global Times Sunday.
She feeds the cats regularly at five spots in the zoo, and said there were around 20 cats at every place in the summer. But currently Suo said she only sees five or six of them every day.
Suo said she often spotted dead bodies of cats whose stomach has been cut by the barbed wire fence or which have been crushed by vehicles.
"I've found over 20 dead bodies, and eight of them were discovered on a single day last week," Suo said.
Some cats were adopted or have been transferred to nearby residential compounds by volunteers after they heard of the recent deaths.
There were around 150 stray cats in the zoo, and Suo estimated there will not be many left after this winter.
Beijing Zoo has moved or dismantled the cat shelters three times since October, but it promised to allow the cats to live in the north part and also built some shelters after they first moved them. But it then broke its promises and demolished the shelters, according to Suo.
The zoo's media officer, Ye Mingxia, told the Global Times that the zoo's leaders have not informed her of any details of the stray cat situation, and referred the reporter to their online announcement which was made in October.
The announcement states stray cats can reside in a discrete area, however the current shelter removal means the zoo has gone back on its promise.
Duan Xiaomei, from NGO Capital Animal Welfare Association, believes the zoo has disrespected their efforts to sterilize the cats.
"We captured the cats at night to sterilize them, but the zoo just drove them away," Duan said. She suggested the zoo should inform the volunteers to cooperate with it rather than just demolish the shelters.