ABOVE: A picture of crocodile. © Provided by IBT US
Authorities at the zoo, who posted photos of the crocodile’s blood-covered head on Facebook, said the “catastrophic situation” regarding the reptile was just one of many instances of “savage behavior” showcased by spectators.
“It’s terrible. You cannot imagine what animals endure from some visitors,” zoo veterinarian, Amor Ennaifer, told Agence France-Presse. “Citizen leave waste and plastic bags. They throw stones at lions and hippos.”
Ennaifer said it was common for visitors to mistreat the zoo animals, but it was particularly harder to keep the 150 species living in the zoo safe from guests during school holidays. Just last year, photos of the zoo covered in trash sparked outrage on social media, authorities said, adding that the crocodile’s death was just another instance of the controversy caused by zoo visitors.
“We can’t put a guard in front of each cage,” he said. “People need to be aware of the need to respect animals.”
The Belvedere Zoo isn’t the only zoo facing controversy due to visitors’ mistreatment of animals. A beloved hippo in El Salvador was also recently a victim of inhumane violence after intruders broke into his cage and assaulted him with sharp weapons and other unidentified blunt objects, according to the country’s Ministry of Culture.
Zookeepers first realized Gustavito, a star attraction at the San Salvador zoo, had been attacked Sunday when the animal started behaving out of the norm and refused to eat. The zoo’s vet later discovered Gustavito was suffering from bruises, lacerations on the head and body, cramps and abdominal pain as a result of the attack. The hippopotamus, who had been a resident at the zoo for the last 12 years, died later that day.