A visitor throws snowballs at a pair of African lions at a zoo in Hangzhou, capital of east China's Zhejiang Province on Saturday, January 5, 2013. [Photo: Beijing News]
A group of zoo visitors who harassed a pair of lions at a zoo in east China's Zhejiang province are being criticized by netizens for their behavior.
A post on Sina Weibo, a popular microblogging site, shows a group of visitors throwing snowballs at a pair of African lions at a zoo in the provincial capital of Hangzhou on Saturday.
The post stated that the lions panicked after being hit by the snowballs and ran into a corner of their enclosure to escape.
The post was forwarded more than 75,000 times, with many netizens calling for greater protection of animals and more "moral education."
"Mankind should learn to better respect nature and life when visiting zoos," wrote Sina Weibo user "daomangquanfaguan."
Zoo breeder Zhu Yan said employees were busy clearing snow at the time of the incident and therefore did not notice what was happening.
"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."