Two peacocks at the Yunnan Wild Animal Park in China apparently died of fright after tourists held them to pose for photographs and also plucked their feathers recently.
The first incident on Feb 12 sparked an uproar after photos of their bad behaviour were uploaded to Weibo.
The Yunnan Wild Animal Park, which is home to around 6,800 peacocks, has a compound where tourists can roam freely among some peacocks.
They are allowed to feed them and take pictures of them. However, they are not allowed to touch the birds, which are known to be timid and get distressed by sudden shocks.
The peacocks were lured with food by the tourists who then grabbed their long tails and plucked their plumes. They were also seen grabbing the birds to have photos taken together.
People's Daily reported that zookeepers rushed to the scene after discovering that the visitors were manhandling the birds in the first case.
But it was too late. One 5-year-old male peacock died within an hour.
Observers and animal lovers said peacocks can be frightened to death and suffer from heart attacks when traumatised, just like other timid animals like ducks.
This is not the first time Chinese tourists have been caught abusing birds or other animals.
Last year, tourists at a scenic dam in Kunming city, south China, caught seagulls to use them as props for pictures.
One woman seized a frightened gull by its wings, pretending to eat it as she struck her pose while her travelling companions clicked away furiously.
Animal lovers were also outraged recently when a young dolphin died of suspected dehydration after beach-goers paraded it on a beach in Argentina to stroke it and take photos with it.
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