After Dezhou Zoo came under fire for keeping a husky dog with a pack of wolves in the same enclosure, authorities said that they kept two species together deliberately to 'add entertainment value'.
A video shot by a tourist in the last week, showing the dog limping inside the wolf enclosure in the zoo in China's Shandong Province, took the internet by storm.
According to Huanqiu.com, when animal lovers approached the public zoo management over this issue, the management said it was a deliberate step.
Moreover, in a statement released by the zoo, the management said that the dog was introduced two months ago, together with the wolves, for 'increase the level of appreciation as well as the entertainment values for visitors'. They also said that they have noticed the dog and the wolves living together peacefully and stressed on the fact that the canine will be safe in the enclosure as huskies 'enjoy certain status among the wolf family'.
However, the tourist who shot the video pointed out that the husky was limping and it looked like it had been bitten on its paw.
'As we all know, wolves like living with each other and have a strong sense of territory. Don't you think it would be miserable for the dog to live there?' he said.
The zoo authorities also acknowledge the fact that the husky was wounded and said they have appointed a vet to look into the matter.
Social media reacts
There was an outcry on the social media following his post. Several people pointed out that huskies have a gentle temperament and it will be impossible for the dog to fight with the wolves for food.
Meanwhile, Asian Animal Foundation voiced their concern about the husky's treatment.
'The primary responsibility of a zoo is to educate. To spread such a wrong idea is misleading.[We] suggest relevant departments tighten the assessments of the qualification of zoos and to evaluate the welfare of the animals,' wrote the organisation on Weibo.
According to MailOnline, director of PETA UK, Elisa Allen said, "This dog clearly needs urgent veterinary attention and belongs in a loving home, not in a zoo to be exploited for the paying public."
"The predatory instincts of wolves don't simply vanish in captivity, and a limping domesticated dog thrown into their enclosure may well end up on the receiving end of aggression," she added.
Recently, China received flak on social media after pictures of Pizza, dubbed as world's loneliest polar bear, went viral. Pizza is kept in a glass enclosure in Grandview Mall in China for people to click selfies with. Recently there has been a plea to move Pizza to a proper enclosure for polar bears in a zoo in UK. However, the Animal Asia's Welfare said there is not much reciprocation from the management of the mall.