CHANGZHOU - Visitors at a zoo in eastern China were left stunned after witnessing a live donkey being fed to tigers on Monday (June 5).
A group of men - dressed in red raincoats - were seen in a video pushing the donkey into a moat in the tiger enclosure at the Yancheng Safari Park in Jiangsu province, where it was quickly set upon by tigers.
It died about half an hour later after being mauled and bitten in the water.
Local media reports claimed that the men had attempted to throw a goat into the enclosure as well, but were stopped by visitors and the zoo's security staff.
A zoo official reportedly said that the incident came about due to a dispute between the zoo and its investors.
In a statement written in Mandarin on its Weibo account, the zoo said a legal case involving another firm had caused its assets to be frozen two years ago.
This led to several animals, including two giraffes and a chimpanzee, dying as permits could not be obtained to send them for medical treatment elsewhere.
As a result, a group of shareholders were angry over not receiving returns on their investments and felt the zoo was conspiring with the court to "cheat" them.
They were attempting to transport the animals out of the zoo to sell them, but were stopped by security staff.
In anger, they decided to feed the animals to the tigers.
"Since we could not have any benefits, we thought why not feed to the tigers, at least we can save on animal feed," one unnamed investor told the Modern Express newspaper.
The zoo has since apologised for the incident and pledged that it will never happen again.
Social media users were united in condemning the actions of the investors and called for the zoo to better protect its animals.
Wrote one netizen: "The donkey brayed loudly when it was pushed down. What has a donkey got to do with humans' problems?"